Coll., Middle East Law and Governance , vol. 6, n°1, 2014

  • Amel Ahmed & Giovanni Capoccia, The Study of Democratization and the Arab Spring*, p 1 –31

    This paper proposes and illustrates a framework for analysis of the recent events in Middle Eastern and North African countries (the so-called Arab Spring) by bringing into dialogue recent theoretical advances in democratization theory with the comparative-historical literature on the political development of the MENA region. We advocate two analytical shifts from conventional approaches in the analysis of the Arab Spring: first, reconsider the temporalities of democratization processes; second, focus on struggles over specific institutional arenas rather than over the regime as a whole. The former recommendation draws attention both to the strategies used by key actors in the political, economic, and civil society spheres, and to the historical legacies that built the influence and resources of these actors over time. The latter allows us to consider the institutional safeguards for old elites that are likely to be included in the post-authoritarian regimes emerging in the region. Even though some of these safeguards are clearly anti-democratic, historical examples show that they do not necessarily preclude democratization. Indeed, in some cases, their introduction might be necessary to achieve democratic openings in other arenas. We illustrate these theoretical points with reference to the case of Egypt.

  • Steven D. Roper & Lilian A. Barria, Understanding Variations in Gulf Migration and Labor Practices, p. 32-52.

    This article examines labor and migration in the Gulf and variations in the legal provisions for workers. Since the 1970s, there has been a significant increase in South and Southeast Asian worker migration to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). Over the last four decades, these migrant workers have replaced Arab migrants throughout the Gulf. In order to deal with the massive influx of these workers, Gulf States have instituted a sponsorship system (kafala) which becomes the legal basis for residency and employment. This article analyzes the kafala system used in each Gulf State and explores the factors which account for differences in the structure and legal basis of the sponsor-employee relationship as well as variations in the application of the system to Arab and non-Arab migrant workers. We find that the economy of the GCC country heavily influences the type of kafala system used.

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