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Democracy and Islam in the Arab World: Lessons from Algeria

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

The study of Arab political culture has been developed extensively in recent times in an attempt to test whether the lack of democracy in the Arab world can be ascribed to its political culture, in which religion plays a major role. There are divergent conclusions with regards to this question. In this article, using quantitative techniques, we have analyzed satisfaction with the way democracy is implemented in Algeria at the elite and general public levels. More specifically, we have looked at whether the demand for more religious influence within the state affects levels of satisfaction with the way democracy is being implemented within Algeria. Our results indicate that the low level of satisfaction with the way democracy is implemented in Algeria amongst elites and the public is not driven by political culture or religion specifically – but by a perception of a lack of respect for human rights in the country and, in the case of the general public, also by a lack of confidence in the Algerian state.


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