Review of Political Alienation in Libya, by Zulaikha Abdullah for Middle East Monitor

Political Alienation in Libya Assessing Citizens’ Political Attitude and Behaviour by Mabroka al-WerfalliPolitical Alienation in Libya: Assessing Citizens’ Political Attitude and Behaviour, by Mabroka al-Werfalli, Ithaca Press, 2012, ISBN: 9780863723728, Hardback, 240pp

This is Dr Mabrouka al-Werfalli‘s timely offering for readers to gain a better understanding of Libya’s complex political, social and economic milieu in the wake of the 2011 revolution. The detailed findings of this empirical work are corroborated by Libya’s mass uprising and the bloody ensuing battle to wrest power from a regime popularly perceived as bereft of the moral and political legitimacy to rule. As a lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences at Libya’s Garyounis University over the last two decades, Dr al-Werfalli was well-placed to analyse and discern the sources of Libya’s shift towards the political discontent, resentment and alienation which led to the ousting of the Gaddafi junta. Al-Werfalli brings the full weight of her knowledge and experience to bear in this book which could have been read as a presentiment of events that were to come.

‘Political Alienation in Libya’ began as a first of its kind PhD research survey in 2001 to gauge local attitudes and behaviour toward the Gaddafi regime. Findings from the survey were developed subsequently into the book in its current form; it was completed in 2008

The book seeks to explore the relationship between popular recognition of a regime’s legitimacy and levels of political alienation, defined as a conscious rejection of the entire political system, by the population it purports to represent. Previous studies into the political legitimacy of Middle Eastern regimes have tended to approach the question on a systematic level. Conversely, ‘Political Alienation in Libya’ suggests consideration of the micro-level in efforts to conceptualise legitimacy and alienation as well as how to organise research into the subject. Accordingly, it represents a relevant and fresh contribution to research and understandings.

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