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Political Change in the Middle East and North AfricaAfter the Arab Spring$
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Inmaculada Szmolka

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474415286

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415286.001.0001

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Analytical framework for a comparative study of change in political regimes

Analytical framework for a comparative study of change in political regimes

(p.13) Chapter 1 Analytical framework for a comparative study of change in political regimes
Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa

Inmaculada Szmolka

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter reflects on the existence or not of a new wave of democratisation in the wake of the Arab Spring. It is true that simultaneity, contagion, diffusion and emulation do feature in the political dynamics of change following the Arab Spring. However, rather than a democratic tsunami, there were ebbs and flows of a ‘wave of political change’ that has involved differing transformative processes in each country. Secondly, the author offers a typology of political regimes as well as a classification of MENA regimes prior to the Arab Spring, in order to identify the starting point of political change. Thirdly, different types of political change processes are defined and categorised: two general processes of political change (democratisation and autocratisation); and, five specific processes of political change affecting democracies (democratic regression, democratic deepening and consolidation of democracy) or authoritarianisms (political liberalisation and authoritarian progression). And finally, the author presents the methodological framework used in this book to study political change in the MENA countries. This change is analysed with reference to three dimensions: pluralism and political competition (party/representation systems and electoral integrity); government (constitutional reforms, government and state powers, and good governance; and public rights and liberties (political rights, civil rights, rule of law, and civil society).

Keywords:   Political change, MENA countries, Comparative Politics, Political regimes, Democracy, Authoritarianism, Arab Spring and Post-Arab Spring, Theoretical framework, Analytical framework

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