CIRS Research Summary Report no. 25 (2020)

This CIRS Research Summary Report highlights four recently completed research initiatives. It provides an overview of the aims and objectives of each project and contains abstracts of the final chapters published in the following edited volumes: Sites of Pluralism: Community Politics in the Middle East (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2019); Sport, Politics, and Society in the Middle East (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2019); The “Resource Curse” in the Persian Gulf (Routledge 2019); and Unfulfilled Aspirations: Middle Power Politics in the Middle East (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2020).

CURA paper

To cite this publication: Adithi Sanjay, “The Creation and Mobilization of Anti-China Sentiment by Interest Groups in Indian Society (2012–2018),” CURA Paper no. 1 (2020).

Over the decades, Sino–Indian relations underwent several transformations, and these shifts have affected the ways in which China is perceived by regional and national political parties, as well as the public, in India. This paper presents a case study of the mobilization of anti-China sentiment in India by constructing and analyzing a unique dataset on the issues driving anti-China protests in India, based on reports in national- and regional-level Indian newspaper articles published between 2012 and 2018.

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Sites of Pluralism

"مواقع التعددية: سياسة المجتمع في الشرق الأوسط"، تقرير مركـز الدراسـات الدوليـة والإقليميـة العربي الموجز رقم ٢٧ (الدوحة، قطر: مركـز الدراسـات الدوليـة والإقليميـة، ٢٠٢٠).

درسنا في مشروعنا هذا، وبشكل موسّع، التطور التاريخي للتنوع والفسيفساء التعددية في الشرق الأوسط، ومدى تأثير هذا التطوّر على الديناميات السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية الحالية في المنطقة. وتناولنا العديد من الموضوعات الأخرى، فدرسنا الفهم الاجتماعي-السياسي للتعددية في الشرق الأوسط، وكيف أن الأفكار والسرديات الخاصة بمصطلح "الأقلية" هي بحد ذاتها إشكاليّة من الناحية المفاهيمية، وكثيراً ما يتم الطعن فيها في الواقع. وأعدنا دراسة دور الدولة من حيث تعزيز (أو تحدّي) التنوع الوطني، من خلال فرض سردية وطنيّة للتجانس، وكذلك من خلال تطوير هياكل مؤسسية للدولة تحكم الاقتصاد، والمجال السياسي، والتعليم، وغيرها من القطاعات الاجتماعية. كما سعينا لدراسة الخيارات السياسية والثقافية والقانونية والتعليمية التي طبقتها الدول لحماية (أو عدم حماية) الفسيفساء الوطنية لمواطنيها. يهدف المشروع إلى زيادة التركيز على كيفية انعكاس التعددية والتنوع في المجالات "الناعمة"، مثل الهندسة المعمارية والمسطّحات الحضرية، في اللغويات والأدب والساحات الاجتماعية والثقافية.


Gulf Family

"الأسرة في شبه الجزيرة العربية"، تقرير مركـز الدراسـات الدوليـة والإقليميـة العربي الموجز رقم ٢٦ (الدوحة، قطر: مركـز الدراسـات الدوليـة والإقليميـة، ٢٠٢٠).


مثّلت القبيلة تقليدياً أقدم مؤسسة اجتماعية في منطقة الخليج الكبرى (دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي واليمن والعراق وإيران)، ولم تنل الأسرة الاعتراف بوصفها الوحدة المجتمعية الأساسية فحسب، بل وكعامل أساسي أيضاً للتنمية الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والثقافية المستدامة. وتتحدّد العلاقات الاجتماعية في هذه البلاد من خلال الأعراف والقيم الثقافية المستمدة من الثقافة، والتي تقوم عليها التفاعلات الاجتماعية مع أفراد الأسرة وغيرهم من أفراد المجتمع. ولعلّ التطور السريع الذي شهدته دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي (الكويت، البحرين، الإمارات العربية المتحدة، قطر، المملكة العربية السعودية، وسلطنة عمان) وما زالت تشهده منذ اكتشاف الموارد البترولية، أحدث تغييرات كبيرة في الهياكل السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية التقليدية التي تقوم عليها هذه المجتمعات الخليجية. فيما تأثرت الأسر الخليجية خارج دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي—أي في اليمن والعراق وإيران—بالصراعات السياسيّة، والحروب، والاحتلالات الأجنبيّة، والحروب الأهلية، والثورات. ولقد تمثّل هدف هذه المبادرة البحثية في اكتساب فهم أكبر للتحديات التي تواجه الأسر الخليجية، ودراسة انعكاس قوى التغيير الهيكلية والفكريّة في الحياة اليومية للعوائل والأسر الخليجية.


To cite this publication: Zahra Babar, guest ed., "Citizenship," CIRS Special Issue of The Middle East Journal 73, no. 4 (Winter 2019).

Citizenship is a central feature of the modern nation-state. Neither scholars nor policymakers can provide us with a unified and agreed upon idea of what citizenship means in all places, at all times, and for all people. But, pared down to its most basic construct, citizenship is recognized as being that which establishes the fundamental rules of membership, participation, and belonging for the people who inhabit a particular territory. Citizenship creates the legal instruments and political boundaries that shape the relationship between individuals and the state to which they belong. In the absence of a universal definition of citizenship as a category, there are certainly still universally understood ideas, norms, and notions of what citizenship should be as an aspiration and an ideal. In sum, although citizenship exists and develops within its own local context, as a result of a particular historical trajectory, and based on local social and cultural practices, it is still often bound, even if just in the imagination, to the universal, lofty, and idealized form of itself.

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Nation building

To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, guest ed., "Nation-Building in Central Asia," CIRS Special Issue of The Muslim World 110, no. 1 (December 2019).

As separate political entities, the Central Asian republics were created in the early years of the Soviet Union, during the 1924–1925 “national delimitation” efforts of the new USSR. But it was only with the onset of formal independence in 1991 that processes of nation‐building in the former Soviet Union started in earnest, including in Central Asia. One of the key challenges the new national elites faced was which “model” of economic development and political organization to adopt: the Chinese model of gradual political reforms; the Russian approach of shock therapy, emblematic of the 1990s; the Turkish secular model; or, perhaps even the Kuwaiti model of authoritarian developmentalism. Most opted for a default hybrid of authoritarianism that featured some combination of elections mixed with a strong cult of personality. In the process, both deliberately and inadvertently, state elites shaped and influenced the emerging nations over which they ruled.

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To cite this publication: Zahra Babar, ed., Mobility and Forced Displacement in the Middle East (Oxford University Press/Hurst 2020).

Together, the chapters in this volume emphasise the diversity of the origins, consequences and experiences of human mobility in the Middle East. From multidisciplinary perspectives and through case studies, the contributors offer the reader a deeper understanding of current as well as historical incidences of displacement and forced migration. In addition to offering insights on multiple root causes of displacement, the book also addresses the complex challenges of host–refugee relations, migrants’ integration and marginalisation, humanitarian agencies, and the role and responsibility of states. Cross-cutting themes bind several chapters together: the challenges of categories; the dynamics of control and contestation between migrants and states at borders; and the persistence of identity issues influencing regional patterns of migration. Read more from Oxford University Press.

Read about the research initiative


To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, ed., Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics (London: Routledge, 2020)

This volume begins its examination of Ottoman rule in the Arabian Peninsula, exploring other dimensions of the region’s history up until and after independence in 1970. Featuring scholars from a range of disciplines, the book demonstrates how the Persian Gulf’s current, complex politics is a product of interwoven dynamics rooted in historical developments and memories, profound social, cultural, and economic changes underway since the 1980s and the 1990s, and inter-state and international relations among both regional actors and between them and the rest of the world. Examining the Persian Gulf’s increasing importance in regional politics, diplomacy, economics, and security issues, the volume is a valuable resource for scholars, students, and policymakers interested in political science, history, Gulf studies, and the Middle East. Read more from Routledge.

Policy Brief

To cite this publication: CIRS and WISH, "Improving Single Male Laborers’ Health in Qatar," Policy Brief (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies and World Innovation Summit for Health, 2019).

The aim of this policy brief is to provide some understanding of the health constraints faced by single male laborers (SMLs), the policy efforts underway to enhance their access to healthcare, and further actions that ought to be undertaken to strengthen and improve healthcare for this group of migrant workers in Qatar.


To cite this publication: Stéphane Valter, "Norm and Dissidence: Egyptian Shiʿa between Security Approaches and Geopolitical Stakes," CIRS Occasional Paper no. 23 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2019).

This paper presents a study of Egyptian Shiʿism by providing historical context as well as a focus on actual or current issues. The study includes a historical overview of local Shiʿism (Fatimid period, late nineteenth century, 1940s–1960s, and contemporary period); Shiʿi institutions and personalities; the situation following Egypt’s 2011 revolution; the hectic one-year government of the Muslim Brotherhood (2012–2013); President al-Sisi’s authoritarian takeover; and, finally, an exploration of the current geopolitical stakes, focusing mainly on the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran over religious hegemony.