Civic Life and Democratic Citizenship in Qatar Findings from the First Qatar World Values Survey

in Middle East Law and Governance
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The present study examines the Arab nation that has remained least affected by the regional upheaval that has gripped much of the Middle East and North Africa since the beginning of 2011: the Gulf state of Qatar. Using previously unavailable data from the inaugural Qatar World Values Survey administered in December 2010, we explore the political orientations of ordinary Qatari citizens. Specifically, we extend several recent empirical analyses that suggest a conditional relationship between civic participation and democratic political orientations in Arab and other non-Western societies. As in other non-democratic contexts, we find, in Qatar citizen involvement in societal organizations is not associated with higher appreciation for democracy, nor again with those values and behaviors thought to be essential to it. Rather, associational life in Qatar is simply an extension of traditional society and the prevailing regime, with those most involved being those who derive the most benefit and who would thus stand to lose most from any revision of the political status quo.

Civic Life and Democratic Citizenship in Qatar Findings from the First Qatar World Values Survey

in Middle East Law and Governance

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2)

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3)

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4)

Robert PutnamMaking Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press1992); and Richard Rose et al “Where Are Postcommunist Countries Going?” Journal of Democracy 8 no. 3 (1997): 92-108.

5)

Sidney Verba et al“Beyond SES: A Resource Model of Political Participation,” American Political Science Review 89 no. 2 (1995): 271-294; Michael Delli Carpini “In Search of the Informed Citizen: What Americans Know about Politics and Why it Matters” The Communication Review 41 no .1 (2000): 129-164; and Michael Delli Caprini and Scott Keeter What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters (New Haven: Yale University Press 1996).

6)

Amber L. Seligson“Civic Association and Democratic Participation in Central America: A Test of the Putnam Thesis,” Comparative Political Studies 32 no. 3 (1999): 342-362.

7)

Natalia Letki“Socialization for Participation? Trust, Membership, and Democratization in East-Central Europe,” Political Research Quarterly 57 no.4 (2004): 675.

8)

Kenneth Newton“Trust, Social Capital, Civil Society, and Democracy,” International Political Science Review 22 no. 2 (2001): 211.

9)

Amaney A. JamalBarriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World (Princeton: Princeton University Press2007) 3.

10)

Amy Hawthorne“Middle Eastern Democracy: Is Civil Society the Answer?” Carnegie Paper No 44 (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace March 2004) 15.

12)

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13)

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    Predicted likelihood of civic engagement among Qataris of low and high democratic appreciation and institutional confidence.

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    Predicted likelihood of civic engagement among Qataris, by low and high democratic appreciation, institutional confidence, and social tolerance.

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