Elhum Haghighat, Ph.D.​ 

Demography and Democracy; Transitions in the Middle East and North Africa

Elhum Haghighat

Cambridge University Press


Cambridge University Press

Amazon UK

Book description

The Middle East and North Africa have recently experienced one of the highest population growth rates in the world, something which has profoundly affected the wider region and its institutions. In addition, the recent period of unprecedented political turbulence has further complicated the picture, resulting in uprisings and resistance movements that have coincided with intense shifts in socio-cultural norms, as well as economic and political change. Through highlighting the links between population dynamics and the social and political transitions, this book provides a new view of these recent regional changes. The complexity of the changes is further explained in the context of demographic transitions (mortality, fertility, migration) that work hand in hand with development (economic and social modernization) and ultimately, democratization (political modernization). These three Ds (Demographic, Development and Democratic transitions) are central to Elhum Haghighat's analysis of the Middle East and North Africa at this crucial time. 


"Demography and Democracy asks what Middle Eastern demographic shifts portend for the region’s democracy and political development. Haghighat’s argument for restrained optimism regarding such trends is both counter-intuitive and well-substantiated in the quantitative supporting data that she impressively marshals. Any serious scholarship regarding Middle Eastern politics must contend with her provocative argument that urbanization, the rise of knowledge industries, lower fertility rates, higher literacy rates, and more women in the workforce will likely have a dividend: greater democratic and rights-friendly development in the region." Anthony Tirado Chase - Professor of International Relations, Diplomacy & World Affairs, Occidental College, California.
"Dr. Haghighat's book carefully analyzes data to explore the interaction of demographic transitions and economic transformations, making a significant contribution to our theoretical understanding of the changing relationship between development and women's status." Roberto Particio Korzeniewicz, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology & affiliated faculty of Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park.

"An excellent interdisciplinary work to examine how demographic transitions have shaped and continue to shape the socio-political landscape of the MENA region. It provides both empirical and theoretical analysis on the complex dynamic of demography, development, and democracy in four countries of the region." Mojtaba Mahdavi, Professor of Political Science  & Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities (ECMC) Chair in Islamic Studies, University of Alberta.

"An impressive work of scholarship. In our rush to make sense of the unsettling events in the region over the last decade or so, contemporary scholarship frequently overlooks developments within and across Middle Eastern societies that may be more difficult to discern but are often profoundly consequential and significant. Haghighat's book addresses these critical gaps and adds greatly to our understanding of the momentous changes currently under way throughout the Middle East. "Mahran Kamrava, Author of Inside the Arab State (Oxford University Press). Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar."

"Demography and Democracy presents an exceptional comparative political analysis that serves as a counterpoint to Huntington's 'Clash of Civilizations' thesis as it applies to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA)... In support of her thesis is an extensive array of scholarly literature augmented by a great deal of data....The core element of her study is an examination of the demographic changes in the region in multiple contexts, in order to explain the effects on socioeconomic factors as they relate to the emergence of democratic features of governing." Summing up: Recommended. Upper Division undergraduates through faculty." American Library Association CHOICE.

Cover page of the book art is by Wissam Al-Jazairy