GOVT 331 Fish - Islam and Authoritarianism

GOVT 331 Fish - Islam and Authoritarianism - ISLAM AND...

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World Politics 55 (October 2002), 4–37 ISLAM AND AUTHORITARIANISM By M. STEVEN FISH* A RE predominantly Muslim societies distinctly disadvantaged in democratization? Some observers, noting what appears to be an especially high incidence of authoritarianism in the Islamic world, have held that Islam may be incompatible with open government. 1 Others have argued that Islam is not necessarily antithetical to democratiza- tion. 2 Yet few studies have attempted to establish empirically whether a democratic de±cit really exists and, if so, how it can be explained. The present article offers a straightforward cross-national examina- tion of the relationship between Islam and regime type. After brie²y sketching my conception of democracy, I conduct an empirical test of the determinants of political regime. The test provides strong support for the hypothesis that Muslim countries are democratic underachiev- ers. The causal connection between Islam and regime type is then ex- plored. Many conventional assumptions about Islam and politics do not * For a great deal of help on earlier drafts, the author is indebted to Christopher Ansell, Pradeep Chhibber, Omar Choudhry, Christopher Gelpi, Andrew Janos, Matthew Kroenig, Rose McDermott, David Nasatir, Conor O’Dwyer, James Robinson, Ani Sarkissian, Jason Seawright, Valerie Sperling, Robert Tignor, Daniel Treisman, and four anonymous reviewers. The author also appreciates helpful feedback received at the conference, “The New Era in World Politics after September 11,” Princeton University, May 3, 2002. The author alone is responsible for all shortcomings that remain. 1 Adrian Karatnycky, “Muslim Countries and the Democracy Gap,” Journal of Democracy 13 (Janu- ary 2002); John Waterbury, “Democracy without Democrats?” in Ghassan Salamé, ed., Democracy without Democrats? The Renewal of Politics in the Muslim World (London: I. B. Tauris, 1994); V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (New York: Random House, 1982); Elie Kedourie, Democracy and Arab Political Culture (London: Frank Cass, 1994); Judith Miller, God Has Ninety-nine Names (New York: Touchstone, 1997); Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic Books, 1983). 2 John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, Islam and Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Robert W. Hefner, Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Ali R. Abootalebi, “Islam, Islamists, and Democracy,” Middle East Review of International Affairs 3 (March 1999); Hamid Enayat, Modern Islamic Political Thought (Austin: Uni- versity of Texas Press, 1982); Glenn E. Robinson, “Can Islamists Be Democrats?” Middle East Journal 51 (Summer 1997); Mary Ann Tetreault, “Patterns of Culture and Democratization in Kuwait,” Stud- ies in Comparative International Development 30 (Summer 1995); Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, To- ward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1996); Robin Wright, “Two Visions of Reformation,” Journal of Democracy 7 (April 1996); Charles Kurzman, ed.,
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GOVT 331 Fish - Islam and Authoritarianism - ISLAM AND...

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