Back to All Events

Democratization in Muslim Contexts: The Return to the Question of Legitimacy

  • 208 Knox Hall, Columbia University (map)

A talk with Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary - Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, Aga Khan University, UK. 

Martin Seymour Lipset stressed, more than fifty years ago, that 'prerequisites' for democracy include economic development and political legitimacy. However, since the beginning of the so called Arab Spring, it is aspects of political legitimacy which dominate discussions, while economic development seems to have been put on the back burner, if not forgotten altogether. This redefining of fundamentals, particularly the coming to the fore of issues of legitimacy bringing to the fore religious and cultural traditions of society, leads us to raise fresh questions about the ongoing transitions in Muslim contexts and the prospects of democratization in the Third World in general. 

Abdou Filali-Ansary is Research Professor at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (AKU-ISMC) in London, UK. Previously, he was the Founding Director of the same Institute (2002-9), Director of the King Abdul-Aziz Foundation for Islamic Studies and Human Sciences in Casablanca, Morocco (1973-84). Professor Filali-Ansary initiated a bilingual journal (Arabic/French) "Prologues: revue maghrébine du livre" with a team from the academic community in Morocco. 

Sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life and the Middle East Institute