The Politics of Law and Arab Liberalization: General Issues and Current Events
Brown Bag Lunch
Series: Dubai Initiative Seminar
Open to the Public - Belfer Center Library, Littauer-369
March 1, 2011
|Speaker:||David Mednicoff, Research Fellow, Dubai Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs|
Related Project: Dubai Initiative
The rule of law is simultaneously the world’s most agreed-upon political ideal, and a subject of immense diversity and variation in global practice. This is particularly the case in the Arab world, where theories of the rule of law, legal policy activists, Islamist ideals and local politics can produce divergence, and sometimes even conflicts, around the nature of law. All of this complicates arguments about how legal reform can contribute to political liberalization in the Arab world.
This presentation highlights the broad factors that have affected legal politics in recent Arab societies, with an emphasis on law’s connections to regime stabilization versus anti-regime activism. More specifically, the focus is on the roles of international rights discourse, colonial and neo-colonial legacies, fealty to shari’a and national legal institutions. Specific analysis and examples will come from the Arab Gulf region. The presentation will highlight directly, and stimulate collective debate around, the impact of legal ideals and actors on the wave of political liberalization currently sweeping the Arab world.
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