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Libya’s Arab Spring


  • Larbi Sadiki


This article presents a critical account of Libya’s incipient democratization, contextualizing it within the Arab Spring élan. This first line of inquiry is twofold: it critically assesses the meaning of democratization in the context of the Arab Middle East (AME), and briefly considers issues related to democratic knowledge and the Orientalist–Occidentalist inputs into this debate. Then, it situates this debate within the ‘Arab Spring’, looking at Western negative impressions of Arab revolts. A second line of inquiry is also twofold: While assessing the steps taken on the road to democratic reconstruction, it offers an unorthodox perspective on the North African country’s transition. To this end, the article concludes that even violence is part and parcel of the process of power redistribution and reconstitution of a new polity. From this angle, whilst Libya’s first election in nearly 50 years represents a step in the right direction along the path of political renewal, forms of unruliness—regional, religious or tribal—challenge Euro-American views of democracy as a single and fixed type of regime that precludes forms of disorder. In fact, unruliness has accompanied Libya’s long and arduous process of ousting Gaddafi from power; this continues and will mark the transition process for sometime in the foreseeable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Larbi Sadiki, 2012. "Libya’s Arab Spring," International Studies, , vol. 49(3-4), pages 285-314, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:49:y:2012:i:3-4:p:285-314

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