2006 170 pp.
Paperback 12.5X20 cm
ISBN 978 977 424 971 6 For sale worldwide
The Illusion of Progress in the Arab World
A Critique of Western MisconstructionsGalal Amin Translated
From the author of Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? With the razor pen and keen intellect that have won him numerous loyal readers for his previous books, Egyptian economist Galal Amin here takes on the terms of the debate between the Arab world and the west. Amin deconstructs in his own inimitable style the language and underlying assumptions with which the west habitually assails Arab countries and politics. He applies his sharp wit and powers of observation to notions of freedom, democracy, human rights, terrorism (of course), and more, all of which fare the worse for falling under his gaze. In Amin’s view, the western concepts of progress and backwardness as they apply to the Arab world are wrong-headed, and continuing to deploy them as theoretical tools leads into all sorts of blind alleys. True to form, Amin’s analysis is laced with scholarly research, much humanity, and sly, subtle humor. His critique of the much-discussed UNDP Arab Human Development Report represents a welcome and reasoned Arab reply to this document that has been too frequently used as a cudgel to bash the Arab world. Accompanied by the gently humorous illustrations of Samir Abd al-Ghani, The Illusion of Progress in the Arab World is a deftly argued critique of the way Arab societies are judged by the west.
Galal Amin is professor of economics at the American University in Cairo. He is the author of Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? (AUC Press, 2000) and Whatever Else Happened to the Egyptians? (AUC Press, 2004). In 2010, he received the Sultan Bin Al Owais Cultural Foundation Award in recognition of his contributions to economics, politics, community and culture.
David Wilmsen is director of the Arabic and Translation Studies division of the Center for Adult and Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo.
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