The International Dimensions of Democratization in Egypt: The Limits of Externally-Induced Change

Gamal M. Selim, The British University in Egypt


During the second half of the twentieth century, mainstream scholarship investigating the origins and expansion of democratic states presented the democratization process as the outcome of domestic conditions not significantly influenced by actors or forces outside the nation-state. During that period, the role of external factors was usually ignored in the study of democratization. In the post-Cold War era, this perspective was challenged as a result of the findings of studies examining the ‘third wave’ of democratization and the subsequent growth of ‘good governance’ discourse on the agenda of the international development establishment. While not fundamentally challenging the traditional premise that privileged the primacy of domestic factors, the new perspective nonetheless attached a more significant role to external factors in the democratization process than was originally conceptualized.

This book examines the international dimensions of the democratization process in Egypt in the post Cold War era; a period that witnessed a visible increase of global pressures towards democratization. This theme acquired even more significance at the academic and policy-oriented levels in light of the growing internationalization of reform arrangements in the Arab world in the post 9/11 era, and subsequently the greater involvement of external powers in Arab domestic politics following the outbreak of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. The book seeks to evaluate the extent to which external factors have played a significant role in Egypt’s democratization process, as well as to analyze the mechanisms of influence and the conditions under which the influence of external factors have been produced; an important dimension that has not adequately been addressed to date.