Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science and International Studies

Department or Program Chair

Alison Howard, M.A.

First Reader

Gigi Gokcek, Ph.D.

Abstract

Citizens of the United States have been conditioned to believe that rule by democracy is the most free and fair method of governing. If we hold this to be true, I inquire: why do some postmodern Arab states appear resistant to the spread of democracy within government? In order to fully evaluate the merits of a democratic form of government, it is important to analyze the obstacles that hinder its success. Within this research, the gap that I have identified concerns how the overall quality of a nation’s economy affects its ability to transition to democracy in the Middle East region. I hypothesize that Arab nations facing economic struggle are less likely to experience a smooth transition to democracy. My initial argument contended that an overall decrease in citizen satisfaction can sometimes result from a diminished economy, potentially leading to lowered motivation and lessened democratic participation. However, after studying Egypt’s economy, I now argue that the Egyptian military’s heavy-handed involvement in the government is the more prominent inhibitor of democratization in Egypt. The technique that I employ in my research is the case- study method, focusing on Egypt. Egypt possesses a weak economy and has experienced a rocky changeover to democracy, making it highly suitable for this study. The case study method is preferable because it provides for one the ability to take a holistic approach, and delve deeply into the country under investigation. This narrative analysis of Egypt draws from history, anthropology, economics, sociology, and political science. Additionally, I rely on other data sources, like Country Watch, in order to identify the patterns within the Egyptian economy and to determine how they affect the quality of its transitioning democracy.

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