Research Initiatives

Research Initiatives

Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East

The CIRS research initiative on “The Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East” adopts a multidisciplinary approach, examining a broad range of political, economic, social, and geographic dynamics in the region. It aims to explore a variety of topics, including prospects of globalization in the post-2011 Middle East; neoliberal policies in the post-uprisings period; military-private sector relations; state-business relations; development policies; the shifting boundaries of economic integration; state bureaucracy; mechanisms and instruments of informal economies; and the dilemma of foreign direct investments. The CIRS initiative addresses these increasingly important, but largely understudied, topics in Middle Eastern studies, and invites a number of experts to take part in in-depth, critical analysis of these pertinent issues. 

In 2018, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at Georgetown University in Qatar launched a multiyear research initiative to study the state of the political economies of Middle Eastern states in the wake of the Arab uprisings. While many characteristics of these political economies remain intact—such as ruling bargains; strong state regulation over the market; weak private sectors; large, inefficient public sectors, etc.—there have also been several notable transformations since 2011. The mass uprisings triggered reforms in some countries, gave new authoritarian regimes unchecked powers in other states, and led to the near or total destruction of other economies, especially against a backdrop of civil wars raging in countries such as Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Click here to read more about another related CIRS research initiative, "The Political Economy of the Gulf."

  • Click here for the write up on "Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East Working Group I"
  • Click here for the write up on "Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East Working Group II"

As part of its Research and Scholarship initiatives, CIRS organizes several ongoing Working Groups that convene in Doha to examine a variety of international issues. The primary purpose of CIRS research initiatives is to fill in existing research gaps, and to contribute towards furthering knowledge on the prevailing issues related to security, economic stability, and the political realm of the region. Each of these projects involves some of the most prominent scholars of the Middle East and the Gulf region. Each scholar participating will be working on a specific sub-topic, under the overarching subject.

Working Group Meetings