Political Elites in the Middle East and North Africa

  • Clement M. Henry


The Middle East and North Africa, consisting of most of the Arab League members plus Iran, Israel, and Turkey, are regions of the traditional Muslim homeland that lie closest to Europe and where post-colonial elites were particularly conditioned by the dialectics of emancipation. The more protracted the struggle, the greater the opportunities to forge populations into new nations led by Western educated elites. Conversely, where nationalist agitation was confined to the cities, the military would replace traditional elites after independence in more inclusive political orders. By the 1970s, however, assertions of religious identity would challenge all of the post-colonial regimes, and those with the strongest civil societies, such as Tunisia, stood better chances than the others of weathering the storm of identity politics.


  1. Abul-Magd, Z. (2013). Imagined Empires: A History of Revolt in Egypt. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Achour, B. Y. (2008). Aux fondements de l’orthodoxie Sunnite. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batatu, H. (1999). Syria’s Peasantry, the Descendants of its Lesser Rural Notables and Their Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bill, J. A. (1972). Class Analysis and the Dialectics of Modernization in the Middle East. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 3(4), 417–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Binder, L. (1978). In a Moment of Enthusiasm: Political Power and the Second Stratum in Egypt. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, L. C. (1975). Tunisia of Ahmad Bey: 1837–1855. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Buehler, M., & Ayari, M. (2015, November). (Mis)managing Authoritarian Coalitions in Tunisia: Ministerial Survival Since Independence. Paper Presented to Middle Eastern Studies Association, [data set on Tunisian ministers].Google Scholar
  8. Ferguson, N. (2003). Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  9. Gelvin, J. (2006). The “Politics of Notables” Forty Years After. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 40(1), 19–29. Retrieved from
  10. Grandmaison, O. L. C. (2005). Coloniser, Exterminer: Sur la guerre et l’état colonial. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard.Google Scholar
  11. Hegel, Georg W. F. (1949). The Phenomenology of Mind, 2nd ed., (J. B. Baillie, Trans). New York: Macmillan, 1807.Google Scholar
  12. Hertog, S. (2010). Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Holden, D., & Johns, R. (1981). The House of Saud: The Rise and Rule of the Most Powerful Dynasty in the Arab World. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  14. Hourani, A. (1968). Urban Reform and the Politics of the Notables. In W. R. Polk & R. L. Chambers (Eds.), Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kadri, A. (Ed.). (2015). Development Challenges and Solutions After the Arab Spring. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Khoury, P. S. (1990). The urban Notables Paradigm Revisited. Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Méditerranée, 55(1), 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lustick, I. S. (2002). Hegemony and the Riddle of Nationalism: The Dialectics of Nationalism and Religion in the Middle East. Logos, 1(3), 18–44.Google Scholar
  18. Marr, P. (2007). Iraq’s New Political Map. Special Report 179, January 2007. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace.Google Scholar
  19. Milner, V. A. (1892). England in Egypt. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  20. de Montéty, H. (1973). Old Families and New Elite in Tunisia [1940]. In I. William Zartman (Ed.), Man, State, and Society in North Africa. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  21. Moore, C. H. (1965). Tunisia Since Independence: The Dynamics of One-Party Government. Berkeley/Los Angeles: The University of California Press.Google Scholar
  22. Moore, C. H. (1970). Politics in North Africa. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  23. Nassif, B. H. (2015). ‘Second-Class’: The Grievances of Sunni Officers in the Syrian Armed Forces. Journal of Strategic Studies. doi:  10.1080/01402390.2015.1053604
  24. Perkins, K. (2014). A History of Modern Tunisia. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Valeri, R. (2007). State Building, Liberalization from Above, and Political Legitimacy in the Sultanate of Oman. In O. Schlumberger (Ed.), Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes (pp. 143–159). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Vitalis, R. (2006). America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Walzer, M. (2015). The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Werenfels, I. (2007). Managing Instability in Algeria: Elites and Political Change since 1995. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Zghal, A. (1991). The New Strategy of the Movement of the Islamic Way: Manipulation or Expression of Political Culture? In I. William Zartman (Ed.), The Political Economy of Reform (pp. 205–217). Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clement M. Henry
    • 1
  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of GovernmentUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations