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Democratization beyond Capitalist Time: Temporalities of Transition in the Middle East after the Arab Uprisings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalMiddle East Critique
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jul 2019

King's Authors


Trapped in the premises of the transition ‘paradogma,’ democratization and authoritarian persistence literature are limited by a linear and continuous understanding of time, a gradualist view of transition, and a procedural definition of democracy. These analytical and normative strictures are compounded by a methodological nationalism that prevents an appreciation of how global factors shape the parameters for political transformation in the contemporary Middle East. Inspired by Gramsci’s theory of history, this article seeks to move beyond these limitations and explore the prospect of transition as rupture, away from democratization as strategy for ensuring duration of capitalist time, and toward democratic transition as epochal change beyond capitalism. By counterposing the effects of the two globalizations and the decolonization in between on the prospects of political transformation in the Middle East, this article argues that the Arab uprisings provide an opportunity for thinking globally and rupturally about political time, transition and democracy in the region.

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