Home Institution

The University of Iowa

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Program Name

Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East


This independent study project will analyze tribal institutions in Jordan to understand how conducive they are to democracy. In the wake of the Arab Spring and the collapse of many burgeoning democracies in the Middle East, it is important to find ways in which pro-democracy advocates can build strong democratic states in the Middle East. Democracy allows a polity to choose who rules them. Furthermore, it has proven that peopling living in a democracy live longer, more fulfilling lives than those who do not. Given Jordan’s unique history as a stable regime with a strong tribal tradition, the researcher has chosen Jordan as his field site to conduct this research. Using qualitative methods, the researcher has concluded that the best way to ensure this democratization takes place in Jordan is if pro-democracy advocates build an inclusive system around tribalism, specifically, the tribal mediation process. While the researcher has found that the structures of tribalism itself may be incompatible with democracy, he has established that the values derived from the tribal mediation process such as transparency, reliance and accessibility ought to be incorporated in a democracy.


Civic and Community Engagement | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Politics and Social Change | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Regional Sociology | Social Justice


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