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  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: The barriers to women’s political participation in the Middle East have long preoccupied scholars and analysts. The Arab uprisings of early 2011 disrupted virtually every dimension of Arab politics and societies, forcing a systematic re-evaluation of many long-held political science theories and assumptions. The place of women in politics and the public sphere were no exception.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Maher Akhttiar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Until recently, people with disabilities in the Arab world have lived largely in the shadows, a silent sector lacking the opportunity to express their demands or discuss their needs. There are no medical, social, economic, legal, or political mechanisms in the region for discussing how disability is defined, or effectively explaining who disabled individuals are; this ambiguity in standards, which allows people to be divided into healthy and unhealthy categories, act as a mechanism of veiled oppression.
  • Topic: Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Nael Georges
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper presents the key ideas from a new book of the same name forthcoming soon from Dar el Machreq. This book was made possible by support from the Arab Reform Initiative’s Arab Research Support Program.
  • Topic: International Relations, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Manata Hashemi
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Disproportionate levels of youth unemployment and economic marginalization in the Middle East have prompted many regional observers to conclude that socioeconomically disadvantaged Middle Eastern youth are more prone to radicalization and thereby constitute a threat to national and international security. The general consensus in these accounts is that low levels of occupational opportunities leave poor youth more disposed to frustration and fatalism, which in turn are strongly linked to radical politics. Alternatively, scholars in the language of rational choice argue that these young people engage in a deliberate calculation of means and ends in order to attain the power and wealth necessary for upward mobility. These scholars posit poor youth as rational, autonomous agents whose goals are defined by individual interests and preferences. However, these respective theories are unable to account for 1) the absence of political radicalism among poor youth in many countries of the Middle East, and 2) the presence of seemingly irrational acts among these youth that neither maximize self-interest, nor necessarily reflect individual preferences. Given the shortcomings of each of these prevailing theories, this paper, instead, synthesizes these two approaches and assesses the social conduct of poor youth in the Middle East from the perspective of aspirations-bounded rationality. From this vantage point, the behaviors of poor youth are not determined by individual economic interests or by pure emotion, but by aspirations. This paper proposes that these youth struggle and create strategies to improve their lives that are conditioned by experience and observation of those who inform their social worlds.
  • Topic: Youth Culture, Employment
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mathilde Dugit-Gros
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Has Western involvement in the Arab Spring generated more scepticism in North Africa and the Middle East about foreign influence? This study compares public opinion about foreign influence across five MENA countries: Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia. Using data sets from the second and third waves of the Arab Barometer, the study compares the periods pre- and post-2011.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Sherif Mohy El Deen
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: These two papers are the result of field investigations into the bloody events that have erupted in the region of Kerdasa on the outskirts of Cairo and in the Sinai peninsula in late 2013. The papers observe the mechanisms by which the Egyptian security forces are dealing with the protests of the citizens there, and shed light on their continuing activities and psychological repression more than two years after the outbreak of the revolution. This repression continues despite talk of the need to change the security institutions and the essential challenge of changing the relationship between the state and its citizens to allow for the construction of a democratic foundation.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Heba Abou Shnief
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: While the Arab awakening has impacted the political economies of Arab states differently, the message that state-business relations can no longer afford to rely on pre-existing models of business advocacy has reverberated across the region. Rent-seeking, cronyism, patronage, and state capture have long been―to varying degrees—all features of state-business relations in the Arab world. In post-uprising countries, the rise and fall of regimes, the adoption of new constitutions, the holding of theoretically more open legislative elections, the emergence new interest groups and a more scrutinizing public are all dynamics that are likely to influence the mechanics of policymaking, and with it, legacy systems of private sector advocacy. While it is still too early to ascertain with certainty precisely how older business advocacy models might evolve to adapt to new realities, or how soon such adaptations might occur, the dynamics have already changed—particularly with regards to ‘state capture’—where challenges to pre-existing networks have paralleled challenges to incumbent regimes. Combining a desk study with extensive field interviews with key persons from the business sector, government and civil society in both Egypt and Tunisia, the research makes a preliminary examination of the initial attempts at policy advocacy by business interest groups during the transitions. In doing so, a deeper understanding of how those dynamics seem to have changed thus far, as well as an initial assessment of whether or not state capture has, perhaps, come to an end in any of the countries studied is made. Finally, a brief set of policy recommendations are presented on ways and means of improving advocacy processes so that national business interests might be better reflected in the economic policymaking calculus.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East