Research Initiatives

Research Initiatives

The New Arab State: Actors, Institutions, and Processes

This research initiative is designed to examine some of the central questions facing scholars of Middle Eastern politics concerning the nature of the post-2011 state in the Arab world. These questions revolve around the very conception of the state, its functions and institutions, its sources of legitimacy, and basic notions underlying it such as sovereignty and nationalism.

The 2011 Arab uprisings and their subsequent aftermath have thrown into question some of our long-held assumptions about the foundational aspects of the Arab state. While the regional and international consequences of the uprisings continue to unfold with great unpredictability, their ramifications for the internal lives of the states in which they unfolded are just as dramatic and consequential. States historically viewed as models of strength and stability have been shaken to their foundations. Borders thought impenetrable have collapsed; sovereignty and territoriality have been in flux. The Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) designed this research initiative to examine some of the central questions facing scholars of Middle Eastern politics concerning the nature of the post-2011 state in the Arab world. These questions revolve around the very conception of the state, its functions and institutions, its sources of legitimacy, and basic notions underlying it such as sovereignty and nationalism.

Inside the Arab StateMehran Kamrava, Inside the Arab State (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2018)

  • Click here to read about the "Inside the Arab State: Re-Envisioning the Arab State" Working Group I
  • Click here to read about "Inside the Arab State: Actors, Institutions, and Processes" Working Group II

As an ongoing part of its research initiatives program, CIRS organizes several working groups that convene in Doha to examine a variety of issues pertinent to the Gulf region and of international significance. The primary purpose of these projects is to fill in existing research gaps and to contribute toward furthering knowledge on prevailing issues related to the security, economic stability, and politics of the Gulf region. Each CIRS research initiative involves prominent scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from the Middle East, the Gulf region, and beyond. Each participant contributes to the project by attending a CIRS working group meeting and submitting papers written on a specific topic related to the project. In conjunction with its working group meetings, CIRS funds empirically-based, original research projects in order to address existing gaps in the literature. Under these broader initiatives, CIRS awards grants and creates a scholarly forum for studying a variety of issues related to the Middle East. Through regular CIRS-sponsored research meetings, the grant recipients are able to share their research findings with other academics, policymakers, and practitioners. 

Metings