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Lindsay Benstead, (MPP/PhD, Ford School of Public Policy and Department of Political Science) featured in the Ann Arbor News

Sunday, October 8, 2006

In its Sunday, October 8th issue, the Ann Arbor News featured on article on the Ford School's own Lindsay Benstead. A joint degree PhD student with the Department of Political Science, Lindsey has been hard at work for the past 11 months in Algeria and Morocco testing the progress of democratic institutions in the Islamic world.

Lindsey Benstead
According to Lindsay, the nations of North Africa offer a welcome counter-narrative to the explosive situations currently consuming the Middle East. To different degrees and in different ways, outside the spotlights of world media coverage, Algeria and Morocco are demonstrating the "tenuous beginnings" of Islamic democracy. Her work seeks to document those beginnings by surveying and interviewing a wide range of legislators and everyday citizens on perceptions of their nations' governance.

Her broad judgment: while both nations offer crucial insights, Morocco is farther along than Algeria down the path to meaningful political democracy. As she phrased it for the Ann Arbor News, "I think the Algerians actually feel they have some kind of democracy, and I believe that's backfiring because they don't have a democracy." While elections in Morocco may be judged "free and fair" Algerians are still coping with powerful forms of military control.

Lindsay is currently in the process of composing her dissertation. She plans another trip to North Africa soon to follow up and expand on her research.

In its Sunday, October 8th issue, the Ann Arbor News featured on article on the Ford School's own Lindsay Benstead. A joint degree PhD student with the Department of Political Science, Lindsey has been hard at work for the past 11 months in Algeria and Morocco testing the progress of democratic institutions in the Islamic world.