The Academic Committee of the Fifth Annual Conference on Democratic Transition will convene the 2016 meeting from October 1-3, at Doha’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The theme of this year’s symposium dedicated to “The Army and Politics during the Transition to Democracy”. Previous conferences within this series have addressed Islamists and their approach to democratic governance (2012); citizenship and social integration (2013); sectarianism and the formation of religious minorities in the Arab Levant (2014); and violence and politics in contemporary Arab society (2015). The Army in Politics will bring together a large number of Arab scholars from across the region, including academics operating from within the region and further afield, to discuss the pressing topics surrounding the role which the military can play in a transition to democracy. Azmi Bishara and Zoltan Barany will deliver the two keynote addresses during the three days of panel discussions.

Over 100 authors submitted papers for consideration in the panel discussions, while a total of 35 complete papers were eventually accepted by the Academic Committee. The authors whose work has been accepted come from a wide range of academic disciplines, generational experiences and countries.

The dedicated panels will be given over to discussing a set of themes, including a theoretical examination of the relationship between the militaries and political authorities in the Arab world; the historical development of that relationship; and an understanding of the role which military commands play in the transition to democracy, including a study of military coups as a political process.

Alongside these, the conference includes a special panel dedicated to the study of the July, 2016 failed coup in Turkey and its repercussions for Turkey itself and the wider world. Panelists taking part in this session are also invited to address the question of Turkey’s propensity towards future possible military takeovers of power. This question ties into one of the wider themes of the meeting, specifically, the policies adopted by developing democracies to counter and prevent military coups: participants are invited to explore this question as it affects Turkey from a comparative standpoint, taking into account the experiences of Arab countries as well as other cases in Eastern and Southern Europe and Latin America.

For the Time Table covering conference sessions together with a list of speakers and their biographies, please click here. For the abstracts of papers scheduled to be presented, please click here.