Authoritarian rule and the absence of democratic regimes have been constant features of modern Middle Eastern politics. This sets the region apart from other world regions which have, at least partially, been affected by waves of democratisation (though often limited in outcome). How can we explain the striking persistence of authoritarianism and the failure of democratisation attempts, both before and after the Arab Spring? And how has authoritarian rule affected and shaped Middle Eastern economies?
The module uses the analytical tools of political economy to analyse authoritarianism in the Middle East from a dual perspective: authoritarianism as a political outcome and authoritarianism as a determinant of socio-economic development. Through comparative case studies, students will be introduced to key debates in the broader literature on authoritarianism, such as the effect of oil endowments on regime survival, the role of external powers (‘black knights’) in supporting authoritarian rule, and the significance of social classes, such as capital and labour.
*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.
1-hour weekly lecture and 1-hour weekly seminar
Module assessment - more information
1 x formative 500-word essay (unassessed); summative 4,500-word essay (90%); in-class presentation (10%)