Browse Publications

Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia

Zayani, MohamedNetworked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

How is the adoption of digital media in the Arab world affecting the relationship between the state and its subjects? What new forms of online engagement and strategies of resistance have emerged from the aspirations of digitally empowered citizens? This book tells the compelling story of the concurrent evolution of technology and society in the Middle East. It brings into focus the intricate relationship between Internet development, youth activism, cyber resistance, and political participation. Taking Tunisia - the birthplace of the Arab uprisings - as a case study, it offers an ethnographically nuanced and theoretically grounded analysis of the digital culture of contention that developed in an authoritarian context. It broadens the focus from narrow debates about the role that social media played in the Arab uprisings toward a fresh understanding of how changes in media affect existing power relations. Read more from Oxford University Press.

CIRS Annual Report 2014-2015

The 2014-2015 CIRS Annual Report contains information about all the activities, research initiatives, publications, lectures, and events that CIRS organized throughout the year. Highlights include the publication of two new CIRS books, as well as the initiation of new research initiatives and grant awards.

CIRS Newsletter 18

CIRS Newsletter 18 was published in Spring 2015. The newsletter highlights new CIRS publications and research initiatives, faculty spotlight, and all events over the past semester.

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC Summary Report

In recent years, migration to the GCC has attracted increasing journalistic attention, and a growing body of scholarship from academics. What has gone almost completely unnoticed, however, is the regional, intra-Arab aspect of the phenomenon. Migration into the Gulf region from other Arab countries by far outdates more recent, and comparatively more temporary, migratory patterns from South Asia and Western Europe. Not only are Arab migratory patterns into the GCC comparatively and qualitatively different from other similar patterns, the historical setting within which they have unfolded, the processes through which they have taken place, and their economic, sociological, and political consequences have all been different. This report examines the dynamics involved in the emergence of Arab migrant communities in the Gulf region, focusing specifically on how they came about, their overall sociological compositions and economic profiles, and the causes, processes, and consequences of their interactions with, and integration within, the host countries. 

التغيير الاجتماعي في إيران بعد حقبة الخميني : تقرير موجز لمجموعة العمل

This Arabic Summary Report details the CIRS research initiative on "Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran" and critically examines some of the most important topics within contemporary Iran, focusing on its social, cultural, economic, and political domains. A few recent efforts have been undertaken by scholars to engage in in-depth research on domestic development within Iran. In line with this body of nascent scholarship, CIRS launched an empirically grounded research initiative aimed at studying the variety of changes and developments currently underway in Iranian society. Through this multi-disciplinary, empirically-based research initiative, our goal is to present a comprehensive study of contemporary Iranian society. This project brings together a number of distinguished scholars to examine a variety of relevant topics and to contribute original chapters to the CIRS book titled, Inside the Islamic Republic: Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran (Oxford University Press, 2015) edited by Mahmood Monshipouri.

Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East.

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

The 2011 Arab uprisings precipitated the relatively quick collapse of a number of Middle Eastern states once perceived as invincible. The Tunisian and Egyptian states succumbed to revolutionary upheavals early on, followed by that of Qadhafi’s Libya. Yemen’s President Saleh was also eventually forced to give up power. A bloody civil war continues to rage in Syria. These uprisings highlighted weaknesses in the capacity and legitimacy of states across the Arab Middle East. This book provides a comprehensive study of state weakness—or of ‘weak states’—across the Greater Middle East. Read more from Oxford University Press.

The Muslim World

Edited by Dionysis Markakis

Over the last few decades, individual member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have engaged in an endeavor of unprecedented scale. Reliant on their abundant but ultimately finite hydrocarbon reserves, states such as Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have sought to diversify their economies, initiating transitions to more sustainable “knowledge-based” economies. Placing an emphasis on fostering higher education, entrepreneurship, research and design, information and communications technology, and similarly progressive sectors, the fundamental objective is to create indigenous, sustainable, and enduring economies. The articles in this special issue of The Muslim World journal emerged out of a two-year research initiative undertaken by the Center for International and Regional Studies of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar. They explore what “knowledge” constitutes, its myriad relationships to the economic system, and the means by which “knowledge-based economies” have been pursued in the context of the Persian Gulf. Across the individual countries and the region as a whole, the authors examine the achievements and opportunities, challenges and failures, faced in this endeavor. 

Water, State Power, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Tribal Politics

CIRS Occasional Paper no. 15
Laurent A. Lambert, Europaeum, Oxford University

This paper shows that the GCC cities’ remarkable capacity to provide water to all their inhabitants despite the regional aridity should not be explained solely by apolitical factors such as the availability of desalination technologies and massive energy resources. Although acknowledging their importance, this paper demonstrates that the historical evolutions and achievements of the water sectors in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait city over the twentieth century are first and foremost the product of local and regional politics, and of reformist leaders’ agency at various times. Major changes in water governance can also be seen as a tool for, and as a signifier of, broader state reforms and changing politics. After independence, the manufacturing, subsidizing, and massive allocation of desalinated water were part of a political strategy aimed at redistributing oil rent to facilitate the tribes’ allegiance to the regimes, and to legitimize the increasing power of the new states. By contrast, the region’s recent trend of water privatizations, as in Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Riyadh, for instance, represents a strategy of gradually streamlining the rentier states and liberalizing their economies with a post-rentier perspective. 

CIRS Newsletter no. 17, Fall 2014

CIRS Newsletter 17 was published in Fall 2014. This newsletter highlights all CIRS activities over the spring, summer, and fall of 2014, including the latest research initiatives, publications, faculty research, as well as conference participation and exhibitions.

Inside the Islamic Republic: Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran

Monshipouri, Mahmood ed. Inside the Islamic Republic: Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Since 1989, the internal dynamics of change in Iran, rooted in a panoply of socioeconomic, cultural, institutional, demographic, and behavioral factors, have led to a noticeable transition in both societal and governmental structures of power, as well as the way in which many Iranians have come to deal with the changing conditions of their society. This is all exacerbated by the global trend of communication and information expansion, as Iran has increasingly become the site of the burgeoning demands for women’s rights, individual freedoms, and festering tensions and conflicts over cultural politics. These realities, among other things, have rendered Iran a country of unprecedented—and at time paradoxical—changes. This book explains how and why. Read more from Oxford University Press.


Working Group Meetings

Take a look at our Working Groups meetings for our Research Initiatives