Unit of State & Political Systems Studies

The Unit of State & Political Systems Studies seeks to create a space for research specialized in state and political systems, both in theory and applied in the Arab world, and developing Arab knowledge production in this area.

The unit replaces and absorbs the activities of the Democratic Transition Project and contains its activities. The amendment seeks to build on the project’s research achievements and accumulated experience in democratic transition studies, expanding its scope to encompass various aspects of the governance process, the evolution of political systems and public policymaking. This is especially urgent considering that one of the most important lessons of the 2011 Arab uprisings is that an essential part of the discussion about the protests and revolutions, besides the impediments to democratic transition, involves the questions related to the fragility of many Arab countries, in which the nature of regimes and policies played a decisive role.

The new unit adopts a broader research agenda. It reflects the recommendations of the previous ten sessions of the Annual Conference on Democratic Transitions regarding the need to research questions of the state, political systems, socio-economic and legal-constitutional structure, policies, state-society relations, and the effects of policies on those relations. The unit initiates research projects and studies related to the structure of the Arab state, the changes and transformations that have taken place and the challenges it faces, including the study of power and mechanisms of Arab governments, and the related constitutional, legal, legislative and regulatory issues both nationally and locally. This will be accompanied by the provision of a space to conduct comparative research of the political systems both in the Arab region and globally.

Hence, the mission of this unit can be summarized as studying the structural characteristics of the state and power in Arab countries, defining their nature and practice, and conducting research into political transformation that centers the goal of good governance and democracy, enforcing the values of the rule of law, integrity and participation.

Areas of Research

  • Theoretical trends and approaches in comparative politics.
  • Constitutional and legal aspects of political systems, and sources of legitimacy and legality.
  • Social structure of political systems.
  • Governance mechanisms and their executive, legislative and judicial institutions.
  • Decision-making.
  • Public policy-making.
  • The administration of public institutions of the state.
  • Citizenship and its civil, political and social contents.
  • Political parties, social movements, trade unions, civil society, and pressure groups.
  • Elections and Electoral systems
  • Political transformation, political development, institutional reform, democratic transition, and good governance.
  • Policies to strengthen the rule of law, accountability and transparency.
  • Social, economic, and external contexts of political systems.
  • Political culture, socialization and political frame of reference of political systems.

The unit organizes and manages the following activities:

  • Collective and individual research projects that include country case studies, inter-Arab and Arab/international comparative studies, to be published, after peer-review, according to ACRPS guidelines.
  • Conferences dealing with state and political systems in the Arab countries through the lens of a specific topic related to a research project supervised by the unit.
  • Workshops related to the unit's research agenda; each session devoted to a specific issue. These sessions takes different forms, such as: hosting experts, presenting a specific research project, or providing preliminary conclusions from a research project or study under preparation.
  • Providing the center’s peer-reviewed journals with material produced by the unit, in particular Siyasat Arabiya and Hikama.
  • Presenting the unit's research projects within the ACRPS seminar program.

For any inquiries please contact: sps.unit@dohainstitute.org