The Governance Deficit in the Middle East Region

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This chapter focuses on two central concepts – human security and trust – as the core basis of a referential framework for assessing and re-imagining relations between MENA governments and their populations. The working hypothesis here is that one of the reasons why MENA countries have a governance deficit is precisely because of the embedded mistrust in Middle Eastern societies between rulers and those ruled. Trust is crucial as it avoids a “paralysing situation of ultimate uncertainty” and puts “social actors in the position to start a relationship” (Bachmann and Zaheer, 2006 : 394).
The core proposition of this chapter is that trust is an essential element allowing social actors to make specific assumptions about each other’s future behavior and hence reduce uncertainty and complexity which are so rife in relations between MENA governments and their populations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Middle East Security
EditorsAnders Jägerskog, Michael Schulz, Ashok Swain
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationLondon
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781138749894
ISBN (Electronic)9781351718370
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Michelle Pace is Professor MSO within The External Relations of the European Union with special emphasis on the relations with the Middle East at Roskilde University. She is also Honorary Professor in Politics and International Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK.


  • governance
  • Middle East
  • security
  • democracy
  • authoritarian regimes
  • trust
  • human security
  • mistrust
  • active citizenry
  • Citizens
  • social actors
  • uncertainty
  • Complexity

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