le savoir vivant
You are here: UNIL > Programmes > Card-index course
Français | English   Print   

Card-index course

Comparative Politics : North Africa and Middle East

Politique comparée: Afrique du Nord et Moyen-Orient

Responsible Faculty: Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (SSP)

Teacher(s): Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi
Lecturer(s): -

Validity: 2010 -> 2014

No timetable defined.


Autumn semester
4 hours per week
56 hours per semester

Teaching language(s): French
Public: Yes
Credits: 0


The principal objective of the course is to develop critical capacities and to allow for the rejection of the stereotypes and dichotomous views that are encountered all too frequently when "exotic" regions are discussed. Fundamentally, this is a matter of learning to reflect on elsewhere and otherness, using the tools of social sciences and political sciences.

Some transversal skills will also be developed:
1) the capacity to critically read an academic text and to develop an academic debate;
2) the capacity to write a problematized, structured, and developed text.


This course deals with questions of comparative politics empirically rooted in North Africa and the Middle East. In a procedure which is less than exhaustive, it is a matter of becoming familiar with the dominant paradigms in comparative approaches and of observing the manner in which they are employed to grasp:
- Authoritarianism and democratization;
- Resistance, protests and revolutions.

A single meta-narrative dominates the literature in this "geo-cultural" sphere: the "myth of the Arab exception." Whether it is a matter of explaining why this region "resists" the third wave of democratization or of proclaiming that "the Arab spring" sounds the death knell of "exceptionalism," one central question remains: is there a political spectificity?


Evaluation will be continuous.


- Hamit Bozarslan, 2011, Sociologie politique du Moyen-Orient, Paris, La Découverte.
- Dale F. Eickelman, James Piscatori, 1996, Muslim Politics, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
- Elizabeth Picard (dir.), 2006, La politique dans le monde arabe, Paris, Armand Colin.

Programme requirements

Political Sociology (first year)

For a historical approach :
- James L. Gelvin, 2011, The Modern Middle East : A history, Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press.
- LAURENS Henri, 2000, L'Orient arabe : Arabisme et islamisme de 1798 à 1945, Paris, Armand Colin.
- LAURENS Henri, 2004, L'Orient arabe à l'heure américaine. De la guerre du Golfe à la guerre d'Irak, Paris, Armand Colin.
- MERVIN Sabrina, 2000, Histoire de l'islam. Fondements et doctrines, Paris, Flammarion.

Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15