Enduring Authoritarianism: Middle East Lessons for Comparative Theory

Marsha Pripstein Posusney, Bryant University

Document Type Article

Published by City University of New York in: Comparative Politics Volume 36, No. 2, January 2004, Pages 127-138


Largely because the Middle East has defied global trends toward democratization, it has been marginalized in the field of comparative politics. The articles in this special issue argue that nondemocratic regimes like those in the Middle East can serve as counterexamples to enhance explanations of the factors that contribute to democratic transitions and that perpetuate authoritarian rule. The articles eschew cultural explanations and advance instead propositions that spotlight political-institutional variables, such as the rules governing party recognition, electoral competition, nongovernmental organizations, and military professionalization. They also emphasize the strategic choices made by incumbent authoritarian rulers and both religious and secular opposition challengers.