Outreach & Pedagogy Events

Rethinking the Empirical Reality of Statehood in the MENA Region

Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Time: 16:00 to 18:00 (GMT)

Location: Online via Zoom

Please note that this event is a research development seminar and will be open to BRISMES members only.

This panel examines how post-colonial states in the Middle East became a site of hybrid sovereignties, porous borders, identity politics, and liminality impacting everyday life. The legacy of European colonialism in the region is widely discussed vis-à-vis regime establishment and legal structure. However, the state operations posing a threat to ethnoreligious minorities, pursuing identity politics deepening sectarian disputes, coming short in its machinery to undertake public services, and affecting the geopolitics of the region have attracted little attention. The panel undertakes the objective to examine the margins of the state across the region to illustrate the concrete statehood (empirical) in antagonism with its abstraction (theoretical). The permanent state liminality that has marked the politics since the Arab uprisings in Tunisia; the divided state authorities and sectarian dynamics mediating a hybrid security provision at a national and local level in Lebanon; the everyday experience of the securitisation of the Kurdish identity before the ongoing civil war in Syria; and the cross-border life and activities among the Kurds in Iraq and in Iran are cases that the panel will discuss. Informed by ethnographic data collected from fieldwork in the region, the panel members draw attention to the empirical reality of statehood in the region affecting everyday life and to the role of particularity (empirical) in drawing the horizon of the politics in the contemporary MENA region.

Chair and Discussant

Dr Marianna Charountaki (University of Lincoln)

Titles of Presentations and Speakers

  • Nation-State at Its Margins: Kurds in Syria (Yunus Abakay, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • Mediating Security in a Sectarian State: Case Study of Lebanon (Vito Morisco, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • Has Cross-Border Activity Weakened the Kurdish Movement in Iran or Helped It to Survive? (Hemn Seyedi, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • A Decade After the Arab Uprisings: Liminality and Politics at the Margins of the Tunisian State (Ihsan Majdi, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)

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