Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 and Syria’s descent into civil war, there has been an upsurge in the number of publications that have sought to explain the spread of political mobilisation, justified through sectarian rhetoric, across the contemporary Middle East. A great deal of this work is highly descriptive in its approach. That which references a wider social science literature does so from within debates on nationalism and ethnicity, reproducing the tripartite division between Ethnosymbolism, Instrumentalism and varying degrees and varieties of Social Constructivism. However, this new work, beyond brief references, does not engage in a sustained way with the much wider, diverse and flourishing debates within social science / social theory on the politics of identity.
On 29 June 2018, the Middle East Centre organised a workshop bringing together a group of leading academics working on sectarianism, mobilisation and political identity in the Middle East. It deliberately mixed both young scholars and established academics, to critically interact with the existing literature on sectarian mobilisation in the contemporary Middle East. Below is a selection of memos written by workshop participants:
- ‘Seeking to Explain Sectarian Mobilisation in the Middle East’ by Toby Dodge
- ‘Pierre Bourdieu and Explanations of Sectarian Mobilisation in Iraq and the Wider Middle East’ by Toby Dodge
- ‘Tracing the Rise of Sectarianism in Iraq after 2003’ by Toby Dodge
- ‘Identity and State Formation in Multi-Sectarian MENA Societies: Relations between Nationalism and Sectarianism’ by Raymond Hinnebusch
- ‘Beyond the Spectre of Sectarianism: The Case of Tunisia’ by Teije Hidde Donker
- ‘Ontologies of Sectarian Identity: The Many Layers of Sunni–Shi’a Relations’ by Fanar Haddad
- ‘Studying sectarianism while beating dead horses and searching for third ways’ by Morten Valbjørn
Will there be a similar write-up of the memos posted here, like the series on State and Tribe?
I would be really interested to read a short summary of their respective work.
Hi Johannes, yes, we will start posting them shortly.