Muslims and Democracy: An Empirical Critique of Fukuyama’s Culturalist Approach

Publication Abstract

Braizat al F. 2002. "Muslims and Democracy: An Empirical Critique of Fukuyama’s Culturalist Approach." International Journal of Comparative Sociology 43(3-5): 269-99.

This paper intends to demonstrate three objectives: (1) Fukuyama's theory of the triumph of liberal democracy is cross culturally plausible at the attitudinal level; (2) Fukuyama's claim that Islam is resistant to modernity (characterized by liberal democracy and capitalism) does not hold up to empirical testing. That is, using Islam as an explanatory variable of democracy/authoritarianism is largely uncorroborated; and (3) Explore alternative explanations for the absence of democracy in most of Middle Eastern countries. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of Human Development and Political Opportunity Structure for the explanation of democracy/authoritarianism. The main conclusion of the paper is that Islam is largely irrelevant as an explanatory variable for authoritarianism/democracy.

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