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Of Empires and CitizensPro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All?$
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Amaney A. Jamal

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149646

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149646.001.0001

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Engaging the Regime through the Lens of the United States

Engaging the Regime through the Lens of the United States

Citizens’ Political Preferences

(p.103) Chapter Four Engaging the Regime through the Lens of the United States
Of Empires and Citizens

Amaney A. Jamal

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a detailed account of how ordinary citizens rationalize their political preferences. First, it documents the causal logics citizens employ when supporting the monarchy in Jordan. It illustrates how people who believe that the current regime has privileged and important relations with the United States may come to support a regime even when it is otherwise not in their apparent interest. This is so because they fear the role anti-American Islamists may play in harming the relationship if they come to power. Furthermore, the chapter demonstrates that this is not the case in Kuwait, because the Islamist opposition is pro-American. Second, it examines the ways citizens who oppose the regime in Jordan cling to an elastic definition of Sharia, one that seeks to challenge the geopolitical status quo altogether. This chapter relies on a series of open-ended interviews conducted by two research teams in Jordan and Kuwait.

Keywords:   political preferences, monarchy, Jordan, United States, Kuwait, anti-Americanism, Sharia

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