In This Review

Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World
Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World
By Rex Brynen, Bahgat Korany, and Paul Noble
Lynne Rienner, 1995, 350 pp

These original essays by leading scholars are a welcome contribution to the discussion of democratization in the Arab world. The central issue is why the global wave of democratization has made such little headway in this one region. The authors draw a useful distinction between political liberalization, which has won significant gains, and democratization, which is a slow process of inculcating new norms. They debate the relevance of culture, which has been blamed for the lack of democratic values, and are generally cautious about such sweeping explanations, preferring to emphasize the role of institutions, vested interests, levels of economic development, and militarization. On a topic of continuing importance, this is all in all the best collection of essays yet.