Take a look at our Working Groups meetings for our Research Initiatives
Babar, Zahra, ed. Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC. London: Hurst, 2016.
Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC is a unique, original work of scholarship based on in-depth fieldwork shedding light on a topic both highly relevant and woefully understudied. It focuses on the earlier community of Arab immigrants within the GCC, who are among the politically most significant and sensitive of migrant groups in the region. Through its multi-disciplinary lenses of social history, cultural studies, economics, and political science, the book presents original data and provides analyses of the settlement and continued evolution of migrant Arab communities across the GCC, their work in and assimilation within host societies and labour markets, and their political, economic, social and cultural significance both to the GCC region and to their countries of origin. Read more from Hurst.
Bullets and Bulletins takes a sobering and holistic look at the intersections between media and politics before, during, and in the reverberations of the Arab uprisings. It is a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic, with the research backed up by in-depth and rigorous case studies of the key countries of the Arab Spring. The uprisings were accompanied by profound changes in the roles of traditional and new media across the Middle East. What added significantly to the amplification of demands and grievances in the public spheres, streets and squares, was the dovetailing of an increasingly indignant population — ignited by the prospects of economic and political marginalisation — with high rates of media literacy, digital connectivity, and social media prowess. This combination of political activism and mediated communication turned popular street protests into battles over information, where authorities and activists wrestled with each other over media messages. Bullets and Bulletins offers original insights and analysis into the role of traditional and new media in what is undoubtedly a most critical period in contemporary Middle Eastern history. Read more from Oxford University Press.
Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
The Persian Gulf region has become home to some of the world’s fastest growing, most impressive cities, many of them with global aspirations. Gateways to the World presents an in-depth, systematic, and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of these cities. It begins with a broader look at how the emergence and significance of cities along the Persian Gulf waterway should be contextualized. It then moves to historical examinations of the emergence of national borders and boundaries, how they became ‘port cities’ of various kinds, what are the semantics of studying them, and what the glittering skylines and cityscapes and their remaining traditional neighborhoods mean for the international political economy and for the identity of their residents. This book presents a comprehensive study of the nature and variety, the importance, and the domestic and international consequences of port cities along the Persian Gulf. Read more from Oxford University Press.
Sriram, Chandra Lekha, ed. Transitional Justice in the Middle East. London: Hurst, 2016.
Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratisation but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally. Read more from Hurst.
The Arabic "Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East" Summary Report no. 9 details the CIRS research initiative on “The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East" to scrutinize the ways in which domestic political arrangements in the Middle East are evolving, and how the authoritarian bargains are being challenged. 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, Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East (Hurst, 2014), edited by Mehran Kamrava.
The CIRS research initiative on “The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities” examines dynamics of urban configurations in the Gulf region (the GCC, Yemen, Iraq, and Iran) in order to understand the city as a cultural and social space. Over the course of two working group meetings, CIRS invited academics from various disciplinary backgrounds as well as architects, urban planners, and designers to discuss their research findings and to present papers linking macro-level knowledge of urbanization and modernization projects in the Gulf with the micro-level understanding of everyday spaces of living and human interaction. The chapters are combined into an edited volume titled, Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf.
CIRS Occasional Paper no. 16
Manata Hashemi, University of Oklahoma
Disproportionate levels of youth unemployment and economic marginalization in the Middle East have prompted many regional observers to conclude that socioeconomically disadvantaged Middle Eastern youth are more prone to radicalization and thereby constitute a threat to national and international security. The general consensus in these accounts is that low levels of occupational opportunities leave poor youth more disposed to frustration and fatalism, which in turn are strongly linked to radical politics. Alternatively, scholars in the language of rational choice argue that these young people engage in a deliberate calculation of means and ends in order to attain the power and wealth necessary for upward mobility. These scholars posit poor youth as rational, autonomous agents whose goals are defined by individual interests and preferences. However, these respective theories are unable to account for 1) the absence of political radicalism among poor youth in many countries of the Middle East, and 2) the presence of seemingly irrational acts among these youth that neither maximize self-interest, nor necessarily reflect individual preferences. Given the shortcomings of each of these prevailing theories, this paper, instead, synthesizes these two approaches and assesses the social conduct of poor youth in the Middle East from the perspective of aspirations-bounded rationality. From this vantage point, the behaviors of poor youth are not determined by individual economic interests or by pure emotion, but by aspirations. This paper proposes that these youth struggle and create strategies to improve their lives that are conditioned by experience and observation of those who inform their social worlds.
Zayani, Mohamed. Networked 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.
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.