Reflecting upon problematic Arab liberalizations and western efforts to ‘democratize’ Arab regimes Langhor claimed that there has been ‘too much civil society, [but] too little politics’ in the promotion by external actors of democratic oppositional forces (Langhor 2004). Another approach has been to refute the argument according to which the ‘development of civil society’ in the Arab Middle East has been ‘retard[ed]’ by ‘deeply imbued cultural values and social structures’ (Carapico 1998b: 1), and to stress instead that civil society in the Arab world can assume ‘different forms under different circumstances’ and that civil society is fluidly expanding where space for civic activism is granted in a context of largely authoritarian regimes and when resources are made available (ibid.: 12-17). Surely, the model of civil society studied in Yemen by Carapico is very different from a European embodiment of civil society, but nevertheless, varying forms of social activism can contribute to the ‘emergence of a modern individual’ taking over the status of the ‘subject, though not yet endowed with full citizenship’ (Hussein 1993: 14). Some now argue that the plurality of discussions about ‘public Islam’ can serve to define a ‘common good’ that can ‘also encourage the gradual emergence of ever more abstract patterns of membership and citizenship’ (Salvatore and Eickelman 2004: xvi).