Do Islamic Orientations Influence Attitudes toward Democracy in the Arab World? Evidence from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria

Publication Abstract

Tessler M. 2002. "Do Islamic Orientations Influence Attitudes toward Democracy in the Arab World? Evidence from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria." International Journal of Comparative Sociology 43(3-5): 229-49.

Research on democratic transitions and consolidation has emphasized the importance not only of structural factors, such as institutional reform and economic development, but also political culture. There are differing scholarly opinions about whether a democratic political culture can emerge in the Arab world, however. More specifically, there is disagreement about whether the Islamic attachments of ordinary citizens discourage the emergence of democratic attitudes and values. Against this background, the present study uses World Values Survey data from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria to assess the influence of Islamic orientations on attitudes toward democracy. Two separate attitudinal measures pertaining to democracy are dependent variables in the analysis. Independent variables include measures pertaining both to personal religious involvement and the role of Islam in political affairs. The results of this analysis, which are similar in all four countries, show that strong Islamic attachments do not di scourage or otherwise influence support for democracy to any significant degree.

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