Democracy is complex regime type, one that has been analyzed extensively. Yet the intricate nature of a democratic regime, and the challenges associated with keeping it running effectively, make it a continued object of scholarly research. Some countries with regimes that can be considered democratic maintain their democracies more effectively than others. This study attempts to analyze factors that have obstructed democratization in three non-Western countries: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
My first goal is to outline processes of state creation and regime building in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. A democratic regime cannot evolve without a state structure in place, nor can it develop immediately when leaders of a state begin a process of regime building. Democracy takes time, and in fact, it is rarely the ultimate goal of the leaders of a state. After exploring the processes of state creation and regime building in the three countries, I explore reasons as to why none of these states has democratized.
My second goal is to conduct a comparative analysis of the three countries, and to create a tentative theory of state creation, regime building, and lack of democratization across the cases. The case of Jordan forms the basis of the theoretical framework, and the other two cases, Saudi Arabia and Iran, build upon it. My goal in creating a theory is twofold: I first intend to evaluate how applicable existing theories are to these three cases. I then intend to create a theory that takes into account the processes of state creation and regime building present in the cases. I also intend to design a theory that could be extrapolated to other cases in the Middle East, and beyond, to help explain their respective processes of state creation, regime building, and democratization.
Glass, Caroline, "Destined to Authoritarian Rule?: A Comparative Analysis of the Processes of State Creation and Regime Formation of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran" (2018). Government and International Relations Honors Papers. 54.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.