Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Sallama Shaker

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Amad Abukhzaam


Economic development, Fezzan region, Governmental protection, Political eras, Libyan government

Subject Categories

Political Science


The Fezzan region of Libya experiences instability, conflict, and reduced quality of life. This qualitative case study aimed to understand and compare the positionality and marginalization of Fezzan relative to the other Libyan regions of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania and how this positionality had shaped Fezzan through the Constitutional Monarchy era (1952 to 1969), Gaddafi era (1969 to 2011), and February Revolution era (2011 to 2021). Data came from elite written interviews with former Libyan government members and secondary data from the academic and professional/international literature about Libya and archival information, such as demographics and budgetary data. The conceptual framework contained three theories of federalism: democracy in plural societies, and patterns of democracy, and the market-preserving federalism and economic development. Data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis, case study triangulation, and case study comparison between the three political eras of Libya to find six themes: Fezzan was underpopulated with lacking social and political actors, Fezzan's marginalization was impacted by King Idris I from Cyrenaica, foreign sanctions against Gaddafi's neoliberal ideas impacted Libya, reconciliation with the West improved the standard of living in Libya, Fezzan remains a pawn of the power struggle of internal and external actors, and Fezzan plays a role in the prevalence of crime, corruption, and terrorism. Recommendations emphasize the need to cultivate Libyan governmental self-sufficiency, a balanced constitution representing all regions equally, and governmental protection against outside influence. When accomplished, Fezzan will likely abandon the criminality it has adopted to protect itself and create economic opportunities.