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Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

Photo of Dr Eleanor Gao

Dr Eleanor Gao

Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics


I am a Senior Lecturer of Middle East Politics at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. My research examines how identity politics affects the provision of public goods, the continuing influence of tribal politics on the politics of the Arab world, and the impact of elections in nondemocratic contexts.  My articles have appeared in Comparative Political Studies and Comparative Politics.  

I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan. I teach modules on the politics of nondemocratic countries, ethnic politics, and state and society in the Middle East.  


For office hours and research leave go here.

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My research interests are elections in nondemocratic countries, good governance, local government, identity (especially tribal) politics, politics of the Arab world, and more broadly the politics of semidemocratic and authoritarian countries. 

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I am happy to supervise or co-supervise students working on my research interests (see above), regardless of whether the research will focus on the Arab world.  

Research students

Christopher Cox, influence of the Arab Uprising on informal and formal political participation in Morocco

Sahar Alnaas, Libyan women's political participation and social media


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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2023 | 2020 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2012 | 2009 | 2005 |



  • Gao E. (2020) Tribes and political parties in the contemporary Arab world, Routledge Handbook on Political Parties in the Middle East and North Africa, 243-254.




  • Gao EX. (2015) They're here to stay: Tribes and power in contemporary Jordan, Power and identity, Psychology Press, 50-70.


  • Gao E, Caprotti F. (2012) Static imaginations and the possibilities of radical change: Reflecting on the Arab Spring, Area, volume 44, no. 4, pages 510-512.


  • Gao E, Tessler M. (2009) Democracy and the political culture orientations of ordinary citizens: A typology for the Arab world and perhaps beyond, with Mark Tessler, International Social Science Journal, volume 59, no. 192, pages 197-207.


  • Gao E, Tessler M. (2005) Gauging Arab support for democracy, volume 16, no. 3, pages 83-97.

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Modules taught

  • POLM651 - State and Society in the Middle East

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I am a graduate of Wellesley College (USA) where I received a BA in Political Science. I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan (USA). 

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