Francesco Cavatorta
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Explaining Algeria’s transition
The international connection
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This chapter presents a framework of transitions to democracy that includes international variables (external shocks, direct active policies of international actors, and larger trends in the international system) using theoretical assumptions drawn from international relations theories. One of the major problems in the literature on democratisation and its use of international relations theory is its over-reliance on structural economics, particularly when it comes to the Arab world. What should be analysed instead are the international economic and the geostrategic dimensions together. Thus, this chapter focuses on the interaction between structural factors and path-dependent decision-making, which means taking tools of analysis from different theories of international relations and relating them to processes of regime change. Determining where the country is inserted in the international system is vital to understanding how domestic actors and institutions are conditioned in their strategies and their decision-making abilities. For the analysis of Algeria, it is useful to look at rentierism and the geopolitics of the Mediterranean to further specify how the two dimensions work.

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