The rise of a public sphere in Jordan after 1988 has deeply shaped its domestic and foreign policies as well as its national identity. This highly original study -- the first application of Habermasian public sphere theory to international relations -- explores the relationship among identity, interests, and foreign policy, employing contemporary Jordan to explore the changing dynamics of the Arab regional system. Going beyond regime- and state-centered models employed by most political scientists, Lynch emphasizes the print media as a barometer of public opinion -- one that affects the decision-making of political leaders.
"State Interests and Public Spheres" looks at the four pivotal events that have defined Jordan's place in the emerging Middle Eastern order -- the nation's 1988 severing of ties with the West Bank, its peace treaty with Israel, its decision not to join the coalition against Iraq during the Gulf crisis in 1990, and its subsequent resolution to turn against Iraq in 1995. Drawing from Arabic-language newspapers and interviews in the region, Lynch reinterprets the transition to democracy in Jordan, the relationship between "Jordanians" and Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin, and the nature of civil society in Jordan.
"The depth of research for this book is simply superb, and the text of the empirical chapters demonstrates this while still flowing smoothly and cogently...For the empirical detail alone, this book should be required reading for all students of Jordanian politics." -- Middle East Journal "