To cite this publication: Suzi Mirgani, ed. Informal Politics in the Middle East (London: Hurst, 2020).
The culture of politics within any system of governance is influenced by how state and society interact, and how these relationships are mediated by existing political institutions, whether formal or informal. The chapters in this volume highlight two broad types of informal political engagement in the Middle East: civil action that works in tandem with the state apparatus, and civil action that poses a challenge to the state. In both cases, these activities can and do achieve tangible results for particular groups of people, as well as for the state. For many, informal politics and civil mobilization are not a choice, but a necessity to secure—collectively—some kind of social security, through communal reciprocity and everyday activism. Ironically, Middle Eastern authorities often turn a blind eye to informal organizing, because ‘self-help’ schemes allow certain social groups to survive—reducing their instinct to make demands of, or seek support from, the state. People are discouraged from political action and dissent; yet they are simultaneously encouraged to seek their own betterment, often leading to politicized groups and associations. By analyzing these formations, the contributors shed light on informal politics in the region.
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.
To cite this publication: Marcus Dubois King, ed., Water and Conflict in the Middle East (London: Hurst, 2020).
This volume explores the role of water in the Middle East’s current economic, political and environmental transformations, which are set to continue in the near future. In addition to examining water conflict from within the domestic contexts of Iraq, Yemen and Syria—all experiencing high levels of instability today—the contributors shed further light on how conflict over water resources has influenced political relations in the region. They interrogate how competition over water resources may precipitate or affect war in the Middle East, and assess whether or how resource vulnerability impacts fragile states and societies in the region and beyond. Read more from Hurst.
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.
To cite this publication: Adham Saouli, ed., Unfulfilled Aspirations: Middle Power Politics in the Middle East (New York, NY: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2020).
The first of its kind, this volume addresses that major gap by interrogating the conceptual, theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the concept of ‘Middle Power’ at a regional level. Composed of nine chapters, Unfulfilled Aspirations offers the conceptual and theoretical tools to examine ‘Middle Powerhood’ in the Middle East, as well as insightful empirical analyses of both ‘traditional’ Middle Powers in the region (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria) and new, aspiring ones (Qatar, the UAE). The contributors reveal that the Middle Powers of the Middle East have failed, despite their best efforts, to fulfill their regional aspirations. Read more from Oxford University Press.
To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, ed., The "Resource Curse" in the Persian Gulf (London: Routledge, 2019).
The book explores how across the Arabian Peninsula, oil wealth began accruing to the state at a particular juncture in the state-building process, when traditional, largely informal patterns of shaikhly rule were relatively well established, but the formal institutional apparatuses of the state were not yet fully formed. The chapters show that oil wealth had a direct impact on subsequent developments in these two complementary areas. Contributors discuss how on one hand, the distribution of petrodollars enabled political elites to solidify existing patterns of rule through deepening clientelist practices and by establishing new, dependent clients; and how on the other, rent revenues gave state leaders the opportunity to establish and shape institutions in ways that solidified their political control. Read more from Routledge.
To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, A Concise History of Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).
Presenting a new framework for the study of revolutions, this innovative exploration of French, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cuban, Iranian, South African, and more recent Arab revolutions, provides a theoretically grounded and empirically comprehensive demonstration of how revolutions mean more than mere state collapse and rebuilding. Through the examination of multiple historical case studies, and use of extensive historical examples to explore a range of revolutions, Mehran Kamrava reveals the range and depth of human emotion and motivations that are so prevalent and consequential in revolutions, from personal commitment to sacrifice, determination, leadership ability, charisma, opportunism, and avarice.
To cite this publication: Danyel Reiche and Tamir Sorek, eds., Sport, Politics and Society in the Middle East (New York, NY: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2019).
Sport in the Middle East has become a major issue in global affairs. The contributors to this timely volume discuss the intersection of political and cultural processes related to sport in the region. Eleven chapters trace the historical institutionalization of sport and the role it has played in negotiating ‘Western’ culture. Sport is found to be a contested terrain where struggles are being fought over the inclusion of women, over competing definitions of national identity, over preserving social memory, and over press freedom. Also discussed are the implications of mega-sporting events for host countries, and how both elite sport policies and sports industries in the region are being shaped. Read more from Oxford University Press.
To cite this publication: Firat Oruc, ed., Sites of Pluralism: Community Politics in the Middle East (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019).
Scholars and policymakers, struggling to make sense of the ongoing chaos in the Middle East, have focused on the possible causes of the escalation in both inter-state and intra-state conflict. But the Arab Spring has shown the urgent need for new ways to frame difference, both practically and theoretically. For some, a fundamental incompatibility between different ethno-linguistic and religious communities lies at the root of these conflicts; these divisions are thought to impede any form of political resolution or social cohesion. But little work has been done to explore how these tensions manifest themselves in the communities of the Middle East. Sites of Pluralism fills this significant gap, going beyond a narrow focus on ‘minorities’ to examine the larger canvas of community politics in the Middle East. This multi-disciplinary volume offers a critical view of the Middle East’s diverse, pluralistic fabric: how it has evolved throughout history; how it influences current political, economic and social dynamics; and what possibilities it offers for the future. Read more from Oxford University Press.
To cite this publication: Matt Buehler, Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa (Syracuse University Press, 2018).
Since 2011, the Arab world has seen a number of autocrats, including leaders from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, fall from power. Yet, in the wake of these political upheavals, only one state, Tunisia, transitioned successfully from authoritarianism to democracy. Opposition parties forged a durable and long-term alliance there, which supported democratization. Similar pacts failed in Morocco and Mauritania, however. In Why Alliances Fail, Buehler explores the circumstances under which stable, enduring alliances are built to contest authoritarian regimes, marshaling evidence from coalitions between North Africa’s Islamists and leftists. Buehler draws on nearly two years of Arabic fieldwork interviews, original statistics, and archival research, including interviews with the first Islamist prime minister in Moroccan history, Abdelilah Benkirane. Introducing a theory of alliance durability, Buehler explains how the nature of an opposition party’s social base shapes the robustness of alliances it builds with other parties. He also examines the social origins of authoritarian regimes, concluding that those regimes that successfully harnessed the social forces of rural isolation and clientelism were most effective at resisting the pressure for democracy that opposition parties exerted. With fresh insight and compelling arguments, Why Alliances Fail carries vital implications for understanding the mechanisms driving authoritarian persistence in the Arab world and beyond. Read more at Syracuse University Press.