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

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Authors:
Justin Gengler Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar UniversityDoha, Qatar

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Mark Tessler University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan

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Darwish Al-Emadi Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar UniversityDoha, Qatar

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Abdoulaye Diop Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar UniversityDoha, Qatar

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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.

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