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Conceptual Problems Following the Application of the Democracy Norm in International Law to the Political Societies of the Arab World

Alfadhel, Khalifa Ali (2015) Conceptual Problems Following the Application of the Democracy Norm in International Law to the Political Societies of the Arab World. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The Arab World witnessed a series of popular uprisings in early 2011, which led to dramatic events in the region, and were known collectively as the Arab Spring. The events that followed did not show a promising transition to democratic governance after decades of authoritarian rule. This is due to many conceptual problems, deeply rooted in international law, democratic theory and the rhetoric of Islamist political intolerance that dominated the political scene in the region. This thesis will present how the extant international law democracy norm is predominantly procedural in its nature, focused on the conduct of free and fair elections on a periodic basis, with an incomplete conceptualization of the citizen and his/her role in the formation of a democratic society. The example of the Arab Spring demonstrates that this understating is insufficient, where it lacks the substantive requirements for its sustainable success and the necessary theoretical and institutional measures to prevent political intolerance. This thesis will therefore analyze the foundational texts of democratic theory in both of their traditional and contemporary accounts, highlighting the fact that they point to a conceptual requirement to limit democratic rights of political participation to reasonable citizens. This requirement of reasonableness requires citizens to have the willingness to cooperate with each other in a system of cooperation over generations beyond the philosophical limitations of any comprehensive doctrine or ideology. The idea of the reasonable citizen would thus exclude the participation of intolerant Islamist actors in the context of the Arab World. This practical consequence needs therefore a ‘Religious Contract’ that extends the social contract theory (in both of its traditional and contemporary descriptions) to formulate an agreement to engage in democratic politics by reasonable citizens who are willing to listen to each other in order to create a democratic society. Where such agreement based on the previous theoretical foundation cannot be achieved, certain actors, including the intolerant Islamist actors would be excluded from the democratic process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Democracy; Human Rights; Arab World; Arab Spring; Islam
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Khalifa Ali Alfadhel
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2015 08:56
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 08:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9704

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