“Tocqueville taught us how much can be learned about one culture seen through the lens of someone intelligent and sympathetic from another. Joshua Mitchell knows Tocqueville and Arabia, and his readers will come to know both better.”
George F. Will
Dilemmas in a Democratic Age
|Publication date: September 15, 2013 ||Cloth $20.00 • £14.00 |
|International publication date: October 7, 2013 ||ISBN-13: 978-0-226-08731-3 |
“Beneath the surface of the social, economic, and political arrangements in the Middle East that seem resistant to any effort to transform them, a silent revolution is taking place, whose consequences cannot yet be fully anticipated, even if they can already be felt. The Tahrir Square uprising, about which much has been made, is but the first skirmish.” So writes Joshua Mitchell in Tocqueville in Arabia. The Arab Spring is the most profound popular uprising in the Middle East in generations. But to understand the grander play of forces of which it is a part requires an understanding of how Middle Easterners view their allegiances to family and religion—and the tension between those allegiances and the delinked condition of the democratic age.
For more than two hundred years, Americans have looked to Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic account to shed light on the conditions of American democracy. Mitchell taught Tocqueville’s Democracy in America to students in the Arab Gulf and, with Tocqueville in Arabia, he offers a profound personal take on what their responses can tell us about the nascent democracies born of these protests and their potential to succeed in the absence of a strong democratic tradition.
Joshua Mitchell is professor of political theory at Georgetown University. From 2005 to 2008, he taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar. From 2008 to 2010, he was the acting chancellor of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He is available for interviews.
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