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Technology and Social Choices in the Era of Social Transformations

Edited By Borut Rončević and Matej Makarovič

From the dawn of humanity, the dialectic relationship between technology and society has been one of the driving forces behind changes in both realms. Trends in technological developments and their applications are, ultimately, the result of individual and collective choices. At the same time, technology influences the social choices of individuals, small groups and entire societies. This book focuses on two closely related ideas: technological development and social choices. While relating them, the book shows the relationship between human individuals and their agency; social structures, both as the initial context and as resulting from human agency; and technology that has been developed and applied by human agents’ choices within social contexts.

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Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Dominant Paradigms and New Perspectives (Janja Mikulan Kildi)

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Janja Mikulan Kildi

Abstract: This chapter explores the evolution of the dominant scholarship on the politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with the focus on its main strengths and limitations in comprehending post-uprising political trajectories. Despite the popular uprisings of 2010/2011 that generated significant (political) changes, authoritarianism continues to persist across the region. What the previous scholarship largely failed to understand are the nuances of the regimes across the MENA region and, in particular the dynamics - ranging from significant transformations as well as continuities - that eventually affected the uprising’s outcomes and post-uprisings political trajectories. Therefore, the main objective of this chapter is to examine theoretical framework and concepts from previous literature on democratization and authoritarianism and point to new perspectives that have to be considered in order to comprehend post-uprising political environments across the region. In two sections, the chapter will provide insights into two main paradigms through which the MENA region and its politics have been explored – ‘democratization’ and ‘post-democratization’ paradigms. It will offer a brief look into historical developments of both paradigms, their main features and limitations in explaining post-uprising developments, and how they were shifting. Based on these insights, the final section will offer a discussion on particular concepts related with certain structures, institutions and agency that might aid in comprehending the authoritarian, hybrid and non-authoritarian regimes across the MENA region.

Keywords: Authoritarianism, democratization, paradigms, theoretical frameworks, concepts, Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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