This study of politics and the role of the state in the Arab world is aimed at students of Middle East politics, political theory and political economy. Ayubi's main objective is to place the Arab world within a theoretical framework that avoids both "orientalist" and "fundamentalist" insistence on the utter peculiarity and uniqueness of the region. He focuses on eight countries, and deals with such issues as the emergence of social classes, corporatism, economic liberalization and the relationship between state and civil society.
Part 1 The Middle East and the state debate - a conceptual framework: the state debate; the state in comparative perspective; the non-individualistic path to the state; the Arabs and the issue of the state; schematic argument and conceptual framework. Part 2 Modes of production and the origins of the Arabo-Islamic state: modes of production and social formations; the ancient Near-Eastern state and the "Asiatic mode of production"; early Islamic Arabia and the nomadic/conquestal mode of production; the Umayyads and the lineage/"iqta'i" symbiosis; the Abbasids and the "iqta'i"/mercantile symbiosis; the Ottomans and the military/"iqta'i" symbiosis; the articulation of modes of production in the historical Arabo-Islamic state; politics and ideology in the historical Arabo-Islamic state. Part 3 State formation in the modern era - the colonial/indigenous mix: the European encroachment; a colonial mode of production?; state formation in Egypt; state formation in the Levant; state formation in North Africa; state formation in Arabia and the Gulf. Part 4 The Arab state - territorial or pan-Arabist?: the pan-Arabist ideology; pan-Arabism and the "state"; the regional/functional approach; the "missing bourgeoisie" and the future of Arab unity. Part 5 The sociology of articulated modes - community, class and polity: political culture or political economy?; social correlates of articulated modes; a closer look at social class; corporatism and state - society relations. Part 6 The political system of articulated forms - the radical, populist republics: socialism or "elatisme"?; corporatist devices - macro and micro; Arab populisms in comparative perspective. Part 7 The political system of articulated forms - the conservative, kin-ordered monarchies: rentier economies, rentier states; politics and ideology - the kinship/religion symbiosis; "political tribalism" - or corporatism Gulf-style. Part 8 Civil-military relations: causes for military intervention; explaining the decline in coups; the radical republics and the military-industrial complex; the conservative monarchies and the military-tribal complex. Part 9 Bureaucratic growth - development versus control: expansion in the economic role of the state; bureaucratic growth in the Arab countries; explaining the expansion; the control functions of Arab bureaucracies. Part 10 Economic liberalization and privatization - is the Arab state contracting?: modalities or privatization; domestic versus international stimuli; country cases; Arab liberalizations in comparative perspective; the politics of economic adjustment. Part 11 Prospects for democracy - is the civil society striking back?: cultural and intellectual requisites for democracy; socio-economic requisites for democracy; political correlates of economic liberalization; country cases; the Yemeni adventure; public/private, civil/civic. Part 12 Conclusion - the "strong", the "hard" and the "fierce".