Civil Society as Ideology in the Middle East: A Critical Perspective

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

Jessica Leigh Doyle

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

Volume 43, Issue 3, 2016

Since the early 1990s support for civil society has constituted the linchpin of international efforts in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) to promote democratisation and democratic values.The rationale for this support lies in an understanding of civil society drawn from a liberal-democratic model, which dominates debates about civil society.

This article highlights the inaccuracies of this model when applied to the MENA and, using Turkey as an example, draws attention to the perils of supporting civil society organisations (CSOs) based on its conjectures.