Pluralism, Co-optation and Capture: Navigating the Civil Society Arena in the Arab World
Howard, Marc M
This dissertation examines the development civil society sector in the Arab world and its relationship with the state from a bottom-up perspective. Focusing on the regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt between 1990 and 2010, I both show that variation exists amongst development CSOs (DCSOs) in terms of their type and interaction with the regime and I explain what determines that variation. By conducting eight in-depth case studies of development civil society organizations, I argue that DCSO type, a variable that takes into account the interaction of three primary independent variables: rhetorical outside support, access to foreign funding, and level of perceived threat to the regime, provides the strongest explanation for DCSO behavior. By analyzing the specific patterns of interaction of these three independent variables, it is possible to predict whether a DCSO will choose the outcome of pluralism (choosing full autonomy from the regime), one of two forms of co-optation - administrative co-optation (in which the DCSO allows for some level of administrative control by the regime) or ideological co-optation (in which the DCSO changes their ideological or political agenda in order to conform to regime requests), or capture (allowing itself to be fully co-opted by the regime). By attempting to understand what strategies development civil society organizations use to navigate the unique configuration of liberalization under coercion, a situation in which the authoritarian regime allows for the gradual opening of the political space with one hand and seeks to limit the ability of all CSOs to work independent of the state with the other, this dissertation contributes both to the literature on civil society in the Arab world, as well as to the growing literature on the hybrid regimes of the Middle East that has become particularly relevant after the start of the Arab Spring.
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Zayani, Mohamed (Duke University Press, 2012)The advent of civil society in the Arab world, the proliferation of nongovernmental advocacy organizations, and the expansion of civil society activism have been heralded as promising developments with significant implications ...
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