WiSe 13/14: States and Societies in the Middle East
Fouad Gehad Marei
This module is designed to provide a greater understanding of the political economy and modalities of state-society relations in the modern Arab World as well as explore the varying strategies of ... read more
This module is designed to provide a greater understanding of the political economy and modalities of state-society relations in the modern Arab World as well as explore the varying strategies of survival, resistance, and adaptation ‘from below’.
Exploring the paradigms of political economy and postcolonial theories, the first part of this course will examine the relationship between capitalist economies in the pre-colonial Middle East and their counterparts in the ‘global centre’ as well as the impact of this relationship on society, economy, and culture in the Arab World. The module proceeds to examine the historical experience of the postcolonial state in the Middle East, the extent to which it succeeded in achieving social and economic development, and the reasons behind the evident gap between state and society.
Adopting an approach that focuses on everyday micro-level practices, the second part of this module examines ‘from-below’ strategies for survival and adaptation exploring the ways through which societies mitigate the effects of an unintelligible institutional and economic environment and engage in their struggle over resources, participation, and integration. By exploring the anthropology and political economy of state-society relations and the ways in which various actors interact, the module demonstrates the extent to which distinctions between formal and non-formal, state and non-state, modern and pre/un-modern are blurred as well as the extent to which these dynamics can become a strategy for authoritarian rule.