Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Second Department

Middle East Studies

Reader 1

Sumita Pahwa

Reader 2

David Andrews

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


This paper uses the cases of Ukraine, Latvia, Egypt, and Tunisia to understand the role played by civil society in the process of political transition towards democracy. Contrasting the relative successes of Latvia and Tunisia with the understood underachievement of Ukraine and Egypt, this paper dives into the complex relationship between civil society and democratization, arguing for a shifted understanding from the existence of civil society in a state to focusing on its history and overall autonomy from the state as a function of creating a democracy. The establishment of civil society organizations before the political transition in Latvia and Tunisia allowed citizens an agency in which they could organize and practice democratic processes of hierarchy. Meanwhile, systemic oppression and dismantling of these organizations in Ukraine and Egypt left citizens unprepared, reliant on "borrowed" civil society outlets to organize and create opposition.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.