The Causes and Consequences of Jordanians’ Hesitancy to Protest

Jamie Love


Despite being positioned in the center of a turbulent region and having a history of being particularly vocal for a monarchy, Jordan is now known as an oasis in the Middle East that remained stable throughout the Arab Spring. While many factors have contributed to this identity and stability, this research examines specifically the hesitancy among Jordanians to protest. S.E. Finer published the concept of the façade-democracy in 1971. A façade-democracy is a government that uses democratic principles and ideals to further the interests of those in power, rather than the wants and needs of the people participating in these democratic institutions. Finer identified Jordan as a façade-democracy in 1971, and this classification was reanalyzed in 1993 by Beverley Milton-Edwards. She found that while Jordan had reinstated its’ constitution and made minor reforms, these reforms were not aimed at creating a fuller democracy for the people. Therefore, Jordan was identified as a façade-democracy in 1971 and 1993, but is this a proper title for the Hashemite Kingdom now? Is the lack of protest in Jordan a signifier of a façade-democracy? These questions will be analyzed by exploring the reasons contributing to the hesitancy to protest as well as how Jordanians are expressing their grievances if they are not doing so through major protest. Based on this analysis, an argument will be made about whether or not Jordan can be accurately identified as a façade-democracy. The expected results from this analysis are that looking through the lens of protest, or lack there of, Jordan is a façade-democracy.


Protest; Façade-democracy; Jordan

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