The Secret History of Democracy

Reference work entry

Events in the Middle East have raised expectations for a democratic agenda. Benjamin Isakhan and Stephen Stockwell detect signs of an emerging democracy in their book The Secret History of Democracy.

The tendency of Western media to emphasize the daily atrocities of post-Saddam Iraq has obscured success stories of Iraq’s fledgling democracy. Yet there is much evidence to suggest a return to a civic culture in Iraq, where the streets have become a locus for deliberation and debate.

Following the fall of the Ba’athist regime, a complex array of political, religious and ethno-sectarian factions formed political parties and civil society movements, many of which have written policy agendas, engaged in complex political alliances and debated key issues. They also sponsor their own media outlets which have been enthusiastically read by a people thirsty for uncensored news, even if it is partisan. This was particularly true in the lead up to the elections and referendum when citizens were...


  1. Isakhan, Benjamin and Stockwell, Stephen (eds.), The Secret History of Democracy. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.Google Scholar

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