The rule of law in the contemporary Arab Middle East

Authored by: David Mednicoff

Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138047631
eBook ISBN: 9781315170688
Adobe ISBN:


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The rule of law remains perhaps the world’s most shared political ideal. Yet it is understood in diverse ways within and across societies. This chapter explores the rule of law’s complexity in the contemporary Arab MENA. I discuss the rule of law in terms of three sets of illustrative tensions: between justice and social status; between group solidarity and individual liberty; and between political engagement and the legitimacy of authority. These examples, contextualized through discussion of Arab Gulf and North African societies, highlight the importance of analyzing the rule of law as politically contested ideals and institutions, rather than a simple concept.

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