This compelling volume examines important and cross-cutting themes in the study of contemporary Middle East and North African politics and international relations in the current climate. Drawing together contributions from scholars based within the region and beyond, it weaves together essential interdisciplinary, conceptually rich, and forward-looking content. Chapters cover population and youth, civil–military relations, soft power and geopolitical competition, regionalization and internationalization of conflict, the role of oil in reconstruction efforts, extra-regional actors, environmental politics, and specifically, the Israel–Palestine conflict. Students are supported with an extended and innovative glossary, including key concepts, actors and abbreviations. New Perspectives on Middle East Politics serves as an ideal primer and companion volume for scholars of contemporary Middle East Studies, as well as for policy professionals, journalists and the general reader engaging and re-engaging with the region.
Mohamed Abdelraouf, Gulf Research Centre, Jeddah, United Arab Emirates
Dina Arakji, Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Eyad AlRefai, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England and King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Philipp Casula, University of Basel, Switzerland
Ishac Diwan, Paris Sciences et Lettres and Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France
Seif Hendy, American University in Cairo, Egypt
Simon Mabon, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England
Robert Mason, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England
Where do people meet, form relations of trust, and begin debating social and political issues? Where do social movements start? In this fascinating collection, scholars and activists from a wealth of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, anthropology, history, and political science, take a fresh look at these questions and the factors leading to political and social change in the Arab world from a spatial perspective. Based on original field work in Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, and Palestine, Spaces of Participation connects and reconnects social, cultural, and political participation with urban space. It explores timely themes such as formal and informal spaces of participation, alternative spaces of cultural production, space reclamation, and cultural activism, and the reconfiguring of space through different types of contestation. It also covers a range of spaces that include sports clubs, arts centers, and sites of protest and resistance, as well as virtual spaces such as social media platforms, in the process of examining the relationships and tensions between physical and virtual space. Spaces of Participation underlines the temporal and transformative quality of participatory spaces and how they are shaped by their respective political contexts, highlighting different forms of access, control, and contestation.
A bold firsthand account of one of the persistent Arab uprisings, in Yemen
At its beginning in 2007, the Southern Movement in South Yemen was a loose merger of different people, most of them former army personnel and state employees of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) who were forced from their jobs after the war in 1994, only four years after the unification between the PDRY and the Yemen Arab Republic.
This bold ethnographic account of a persistent Arab uprising, in a rarely studied corner of the Middle East, explores why the Southern Movement has grown so tremendously during the last decade, and how it developed from a primarily social movement demanding social rights into a mass protest movement claiming independence for a state that had long vanished from the world map. Anne-Linda Amira Augustin asks why so many young people born after 1990 joined the movement and demanded the re-establishment of a state that they had never themselves experienced.
At the core of South Yemeni resistance lies the transmission from generation to generation of a dominant counternarrative, which may be seen as the continuation and rehabilitation of the PDRY’s national narrative. This narrative, amplified through everyday communication in families and neighborhoods, but also by media-makers, journalists, school and university teachers, civil society actors, and by the movement’s activists, opposes the national-unity narrative of the Republic of Yemen and intensifies the demands for an independent state.
The everyday practices, policy ideas, and ideological and political battles that have shaped Egyptian education, from the era of nation-building in the twentieth century to the age of digital disruption in the twenty-first
From the 1952 revolution onward, a main purpose of formal education in Egypt was to socialize children and youth into adopting certain attitudes and behaviors conducive to the regimes in power. Control by the state over education was never entirely hegemonic. Egyptian education came increasingly under pressure due to a combination of the growing privatization of the education sector, the growth of political Islam, and rapidly changing digital technologies.
Educating Egypt traces the everyday practices, policy ideas, and ideological and political and economic contests over education from the era of nation-building in the twentieth century to the age of global change and digital disruption in the twenty-first. Its overarching theme is that schooling and education, broadly defined, have consistently mirrored larger debates about what constitutes the model citizen and the educated person. Drawing on three decades of ethnographic research inside Egyptian schools and among Egyptian youth, Linda Herrera asks what happens when education actors harbor fundamentally different ideas about the purpose, provision, and meaning of education. Her research shows that, far from serving as a unifying social force, education is in reality an ongoing battleground of interests, ideas, and visions of the good society.
An essential study of parliamentary politics in postwar Iraq and Syria, before the consolidation of authoritarian rule under the Ba’th Party
When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East explores three main interrelated issues to clarify what happened between 1946 and 1963 in Iraq and Syria: how and why a parliamentary system prevailed in both countries in the aftermath of the Second World War; what social effects this system triggered, and, in turn, how these changes affected the system; and finally, why the elites in both countries were unable to overcome the unrest that brought an end to both a liberal era and to a certain kind of political game.
Drawing on a vast array of sources and rich archival research in French, English, and Arabic, Matthieu Rey highlights the processes of the parliamentary system in the modern era, which are very common to post-independence countries and to any representative regime. He tackles the intersection of multifaceted political phenomena that were present in that moment in Iraq and Syria, including regular elections, the implementation of emergency law, the freedom of the press, the open expression of opinions, the formation of new political parties, frequent military coups, and the joint exercise of power by members of the old classes and reformist newcomers.
Treating this period as neither an epilogue of the liberal order nor a prelude to authoritarianism, and stressing the contingent, improvisatory aspects of political history, Rey fundamentally questions the transitional nature of the period and in doing so proposes new ways and tools of examining it.
A study of how the city of Port Said was created, and its spaces mutually produced and transformed through the practices of both dwellers and the state
Founded in 1859, as part of the Suez Canal project and named after Khedive Said, the city of Port Said has always stood at the juncture of global, national, and local networks of forces, the city itself a reflection of many layers of Egypt’s modern history, from its colonial past through to the eras of national liberation and neoliberalism.
Drawing on Bruno Latour’s and Henri Lefebvre’s conceptual works, this study examines how the ‘social’ (encompassing all aspects of human life—the political, the economic, and the social) of the city of Port Said was created, and how its spaces were mutually produced and transformed through the practices of both dwellers and the state. Looking also at the temporality of these processes, Mostafa Mohie examines three key moments: al-tahgir (the forced migration that followed the outbreak of the 1967 war and remained until 1974, when Port Saidians were permitted to return to their homes following the 1973 October War); the declaration of the free trade zone in the mid-1970s; and the Port Said Stadium massacre in 2012.