Algeria versus the Arab Spring

Issue Date July 2013
Volume 24
Issue 3
Page Numbers 104-115
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What accounts for continuing authoritarian success in the Arab world today? In light of the “Arab Spring,” explanations of “authoritarian resilience” in the region clearly need to be revised. Consider the example of Algeria, which exemplifies a type of authoritarian resistance to popular challenges that is based on pseudodemocratization, redistributive patronage, and an effective use of the security apparatus. Despite its unsteady mode of authoritarian governance, the Algerian regime currently possesses the means to cope with the difficulties presented by popular uprisings. Yet it cannot survive in its current form for long, given its dwindling legitimacy, its lack of truly institutionalized mechanisms for transferring power, and the intrinsic limits of its system of patronage.

About the Author

Frédéric Volpi is chair in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam at the University of Edinburgh. He is coeditor, most recently, of Network Mobilization Dynamics in Uncertain Times in the Middle East and North Africa (2019), and author of Revolution and Authoritarianism in North Africa (2017).

View all work by Frédéric Volpi