Summary Reports

In conjunction with its research initiatives, CIRS produces Summary Reports, which contain background information about CIRS research initiatives, collections of paper synopses delivered at CIRS working group meetings, as well as participant biographies.

English-language CIRS Summary Reports are registered under ISSN 2227-1686
Arabic-language CIRS Summary Reports are registered under ISSN 2227-1694

Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings

"Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings," CIRS Summary Report no. 14 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2016).

The CIRS research initiative on media and politics in the aftermath of the Arab revolts has resulted in an edited volume, Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016), offering critical examination into the profound sociopolitical and media transitions that have occurred within Arab states during and in the wake of the uprisings. It explores the intricate ways in which politics and media intersect in their representation and negotiation of political resistance and cultural production in a shifting Arab world. By analyzing different aspects of Arab mediascapes—transformations in the culture of Arab journalism, the construction of media cities, the rise of religious media, and the attention to subcultures and public diplomacy—this volume provides insights into the changing political dynamics of the region, and maps out the rearticulation of power relations between state and society. The chapters adopt a multidisciplinary approach in their analyses of the changing dynamics of media and politics before, during, and in the aftermath of the revolts.

Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Gulf

"Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Gulf," CIRS Summary Report no. 13 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2015).

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 (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC

"Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC," CIRS Summary Report no. 12 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2015).


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. The CIRS research initiative on "Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC" 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. 

Read about the edited volume
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Read the Report in Arabic

Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East

"Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East," CIRS Summary Report no. 11 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2014).

The CIRS Summary Report titled "Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East" details the findings of the larger CIRS research initiative on "Weak States in the Greater Middle East." It begins with a critical analysis of current definitions and terminology of weak and fragile states, scrutinizing the political implications of the prevailing discourse within the setting of the broader Middle East. The research also examines the domestic, regional, and global causes and consequences for the Middle East of the “fragility” of states stretching from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east to Libya in the west. Employing multidisciplinary perspectives, we study the causes and implications of conceptual notions of state fragility across the region in relation to areas such as politics and security, economics and natural resources, intra- and inter-state relations, migration and population movements, and the broader regional and global political economies.

Read about the edited volume 
Read the Report in English

Read the Report in Arabic 

Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran

"Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran," CIRS Summary Report no. 10 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2013).

This 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 (Hurst, 2014) edited by Mahmood Monshipouri.

The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East

"The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East," CIRS Summary Report no. 9 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2013).

This summary report 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. Some of the areas addressed include: the need for modifying theoretical paradigms explaining authoritarian perseverance in the Middle East; the role of key actors and institutions (the role of the military, the bureaucracy, the ruling party, and opposition figures); evolving sources of political legitimacy; the dynamics of the domestic and international political economy, and the impact of the failure (or the efforts) to reform domestic economies; the relevance or not of Political Islam and the role of Islamism in the opposition; and the role of traditional media, new media, and social media.

GCC States' Land Investments Abroad: The Case of Ethiopia

"GCC States' Land Investments Abroad: The Case of Ethiopia," CIRS Summary Report no. 8 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2013).

In this "GCC States' Land Investments Abroad: The Case of Ethiopia" CIRS Summary Report, Benjamin Shepherd uses data generated from fieldwork in Ethiopia to evaluate the country as a potential long-term source of agricultural staples for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states as part of their national food security strategies. Part of the larger CIRS research initiative on "Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East," the report identifies the risks and well as the opportunities of investing in the agricultural sector of Ethiopia. There are sound opportunities for GCC countries to use investment in developing country agriculture as part of their long-term food security policy mix, as long as those investments are approached in a careful, constructive, and regulated way. To this end, some recommendations are made in this report for further research and for GCC state policymakers to re-think national food security policies.

Sectarian Politics in the Gulf

"Sectarian Politics in the Gulf," CIRS Summary Report no. 7 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2012).

This Summary Report contains synopses of chapters written for the “Sectarian Politics in the Gulf” research initiative over two working group meetings that took place in Doha. The central aim of this study is to examine the dynamic ways in which evolving sectarian identities and politics in the Gulf region intersect. Encompassing Iran and the states of the Arabian Peninsula, the research project includes topics that focus on how sectarian issues play out in the realms of domestic politics within Gulf states, as well as those that address sectarianism’s impact on inter-state relations within the region. This project brings together a renowned group of scholars to examine the issues of religious, communal, and ethnic identities in the Gulf, and how these impose themselves on both the domestic and international politics of the Gulf. The volume is titled, Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf (Oxford University Press, 2015), edited by Lawrence G. Potter.

Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East

"Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East," CIRS Summary Report no. 6 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2012).

The "Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East" Summary Report details the findings presented in the research initiative through working group meetings. The initiative is comprised of original, empirically-grounded investigations that collectively offer the most comprehensive study available to date on food security in the Middle East. Some of the major themes examined include the ascent and decline of various food regimes, urban agriculture, overseas agricultural land purchases, national food self-sufficiency strategies, distribution networks and food consumption patterns, and nutrition transitions and healthcare. Collectively, the chapters represent highly original contributions to the disciplines of political science, economics, agricultural studies, and healthcare policy. 

GCC States' Land Investments Abroad: The Case of Cambodia

"GCC States' Land Investments Abroad: The Case of Cambodia," CIRS Summary Report no. 5 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2012).

Foreign land acquisition offers the possibility of securing reliable long-term food supplies, but has been criticized as risking exploitation of communities in host countries. This CIRS Summary Report examines Cambodia as a case study of Gulf-state land investments in developing country agriculture to develop a long-term prognosis for this going abroad strategy. Despite the critical regional interest in food security and food sovereignty, there is a dearth of available information on the subject as it relates to the Middle East. It is widely acknowledged that there exists a lack of available data on the subject on which to base sound analysis. This scarcity of data and non-reliability of data means that academic work on the subject of food security in this region remains limited to non-existent. A scholarly approach to this issue is both valuable and timely. With that as its goal, CIRS launched a research initiative on “Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East” and held working group meetings to discuss the topic.

Read about the edited volume
Read the Report in English
Read the Report in Arabic