Books

The Impossibility of Palestine

Kamrava, Mehran. The Impossibility of Palestine. New Haven CT, Yale University Press, 2016. 

The “two-state solution” is the official policy of Israel, the United States, the United Nations, and the Palestinian Authority alike. However, international relations scholar Mehran Kamrava argues that Israel’s “state-building” process has never risen above the level of municipal governance, and its goal has never been Palestinian independence. He explains that a coherent Palestinian state has already been rendered an impossibility, and to move forward, Palestine must redefine its present predicament and future aspirations. Based on detailed fieldwork, exhaustive scholarship, and an in-depth examination of historical sources, this controversial work will be widely read and debated by all sides. Read more from Yale University Press. 

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/Hurst, 2016.

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.

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC

Babar, Zahra, ed. Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC. London: Oxford University Press/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: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings

Zayani, Mohamed, and Suzi Mirgani, eds. Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings. New York: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016. 

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.

Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf. New York: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 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.

Transitional Justice in the Middle East and North Africa

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.

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.

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/Hurst, 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.

Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf

Potter, Lawrence G., ed. Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf. New York: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.

Long a taboo topic, as well as one that has alarmed outside powers, sectarian conflict in the Middle East is on the rise. The contributors to this book examine sectarian politics in the Persian Gulf, including the GCC states, Yemen, Iran and Iraq, and consider the origins and consequences of sectarianism broadly construed, as it affects ethnic, tribal and religious groups. Read more.

Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.

The Arab Spring occurred within the context of the unravelling of the dominant "ruling bargain" that emerged across the Middle East in the 1950s. This is being replaced by a new and inchoate system that redefines sources of authority and legitimacy through various devices (such as constitutions), experiences, and processes (mass protests, civil wars, and elections), by reassessing the roles, functions, and at times the structures of institutions (political parties and organisations, the armed forces, the executive); and by the initiative of key personalities and actors (agency). Read more from Oxford University Press.