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Calvert Jones, ‘World Politics’ contributor, pens op-ed in Washington Post

Calvert Jones’ January 2019 “World Politics” article, “Adviser to the King: Experts, Rationalization and Legitimacy,” examined the role of experts and consultants in the Persian Gulf monarchies of the Middle East in what she calls “the black box of authoritarian governance.” She has been quoted twice in the “New York Times” about her expansive research, and her recent op-ed in the “Washington Post” illuminates her work for a lay audience.
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Calvert Jones’ January 2019 “World Politics” article, “Adviser to the King: Experts, Rationalization and Legitimacy,” examined the role of experts and consultants in the Persian Gulf monarchies of the Middle East in what she calls “the black box of authoritarian governance.” She has been quoted twice in the “New York Times” about her expansive research, and her recent op-ed in the “Washington Post” illuminates her work for a lay audience.

“I spent 19 months between 2009 and 2017 conducting field research in the Middle East, primarily in the UAE and other Gulf monarchies brimming with Western consultants,” she writes. “What I found was that Western consulting firms, universities and other institutions are increasingly advising and assisting these authoritarian governments. Some of the consultants involved say they are making a positive difference, encouraging change from within, but others acknowledge worrying that they are helping to prop up and even strengthen repressive, illiberal regimes.

“The truth often lies somewhere in between, I’ve found, and it is sensitive to timing and local incentive structures.”

Jones is an assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. She is also the author of “Bedouins into Bourgeois: Remaking Citizens for Globalization.”