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Political Economy

Video: Laleh Khalili on Sinews of War and Trade

In this lecture,  Laleh Khalili draws on her recent experience of travelling on a container ship from Malta to Jabal Ali, and the research she has thus far conducted on her project on the formation and transformation of ports and transport infrastructure in the Arabian Peninsula to give her lecture. The lecture, which is preceded by an "Introduction" and concluded with a "Vote of Thanks," follows the format of such lectures at the SOAS, University of London. The lecture itself is about war and trade as the mainstays of global power relations. But beyond the visible circuits of capital, goods and the bodies of workers and ...

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New Texts Out Now: David McDonald, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

[Cover of

David McDonald, editor, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South. London: Zed Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? David McDonald (DMD): After three decades of privatization, we observe a growing worldwide trend of governments taking back control of services, or creating new forms of public services, with the overall number of public enterprises globally on the increase. Corporatization is one of the most popular forms of this renewed interest in government ownership, but it raises some tricky questions about the nature of what it means to be “public.” Technically, corporatized agencies are fully owned and ...

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Implications of Qatarization: Qualitative Assessment and Possible Policy Responses

[Migrant worker housing in Industrial City, Doha. Image from Richard Messenger/flickr]

[The following report presents the status of localization efforts in Qatar's labor force and proposes recommendations to achieve better results based on an ongoing Qatarization study supported by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The study, which is carried out by FIKRA Research and Policy, aims to understand the experience of young Qataris as they transition from education to employment, and how youth choices contribute to the labor market in Qatar. While the report has not been published elsewhere, the FIKRA research team is in the process of publishing its analysis in multiple publications and presenting results at international/regional events. Authors of the ...

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Bio-Istanbul: A Speculative, Segregationist, and Sustainable Urbanism

Project model. Photo by Elvan Arik.

Ekolojik (ecological), yeşil (green), doğal (natural), or akıllı (smart): these are the new concepts increasingly emphasized in brochures advertising real estate projects in Istanbul. Stamped with the seal of “sustainability” (sürdürülebilirlik), a terminology that signalled its entry into the vocabulary of Turkey’s urban policies in the early 2000s (Pérouse 2011), do these projects really reflect new forms of urban design and spatial production in the metropolis of Istanbul? In order to answer this question, I provide some context for the incorporation of sustainable urban development (SUD) criteria into the dominant system of metropolitan production. The ...

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Stanford Event: Joel Beinin on Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia (21 January 2015)

CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD), in partnership with the Arab Studies Institute (ASI), presents: Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia Featuring: Joel Beinin Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Stanford University Date and Time: Wednesday, January 21 12PM-1:30PM *Lunch will be served* Location: Goldman Conference Room (4th floor East Wing) Encina Hall Stanford University Abstract Arab workers participated prominently in the popular uprisings of 2011.  They shared the outrage of many of their compatriots over daily abuse by internal security forces, widespread corruption, and foreign policies ...

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The Flow and Entrapment of Syrian Jazira Music

[Crop of Image of Omar Souleyman performing at Perth International Arts Festival 2011. Image by Stuart Sevastos.]

I was surprised when I received an email from a Palestinian friend asking if I would like to go to a concert by a Syrian singer, Omar Souleyman, who was performing at a popular club in central London in 2010. The email included a link to a YouTube clip of Souleyman singing at a local wedding in Syria. I was familiar with Souleyman’s genre of music and knew to correctly associate it with the northeast region of the country, known as the Jazira, but I had never heard of him before. A group of us eventually went to the concert. Preceded by a Japanese band, Souleyman took the stage wearing the traditional dress of thob and kuffiyya. Seemingly the only Arabs in the club, ...

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لم يكن في خطتنا أن ننتصر

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مدخل حينما تنتهي مباراة في كرة القدم بين أحد فرق القمة وأحد فرق القاع في الدوري المصري بالتعادل غالباً ما يصف المعلق النتيجة بأنها تعادل بطعم الهزيمة لفريق القمة وبطعم الفوز لفريق القاع. ذلك أن المنافسة/المعركة لا تدور في الفراغ بل في واقع يخص الفريقين وأهدافهما من المعركة وبالتالي فإن الفوز والهزيمة يتم تحديدهما طبقاً لأهداف كل فريق قبل المعركة وما أسفرت عنه المعركة. فإن كان هدف فريق القاع من الدخول في المباراة مع فريق القمة هو التعادل فإن نهاية المباراة بالتعادل يُعد فوزا والعكس بالنسبة  لفريق القمة، الذي يّعد التعادل بالنسبة له هزيمة. حين نتفاعل إذن مع ما يعتبره الجمهور الأعظم لثورة يناير هزيمة لهم وللثورة لابد أولاً أن نفهم سياق المعركة التي أسفرت عن تلك ...

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Labor Strikes in the GCC: Deportations and Victories in 2014

[Migrant Rights logo. Image from migrant-rights.org]

[The following report was originally published by Migrant Rights on 29 October 2014.] The crackdowns on migrant workers in the GCC do not succeed in silencing migrant dissent. Last year, hundreds of thousands were deported, after being targeted, detained, and mistreated in the Gulf region. Stringent nationalization laws maintain a xenophobic atmosphere around migrant populations who constitute the majority in GCC (up to 85% in countries such as Qatar). As authorities and media continue to make migrants more vulnerable, some resort to labor strikes as a solution to their continuing oppression. Here, we examine the different ways in which major strikes were handled by ...

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Debt and Obligation in Contemporary Ramallah

[Banners by Bank of Palestine advertising savings. Photo by C. Harker]

A recent advertisement for a Bank of Palestine savings scheme, reproduced on billboards and in magazines all over the Ramallah-al-Bireh-Beitounia conurbation (hereafter Ramallah), tells residents “Together We Are a Family.” We are clearly meant to think that the Bank of Palestine wants, or considers itself, to be part of the family. Although counterintuitive, this proposition embodies the ways in which banks have become increasingly part of intimate urban life in the central city of the occupied West Bank. This is not least because residents owe increasingly large sums of money to those banks. In this essay I chart the ways financial debt has proliferated in Ramallah. ...

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Egypt’s Conservative Nationalism: Discourse and Praxis of the New Regime

[Posters on sale saluting Egypt's presidential generals--Nasser, Sadat, and al-Sisi. Photo by Sharif Kouddous]

Egypt has been witnessing a tidal wave of conservative nationalism since June 30 and particularly as the new regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi takes hold. Conservative nationalism cuts across regime discourse on local politics, the economy, and foreign relations. The usage of the term discourse here goes beyond mere rhetoric that may refer to the employment of empty words and slogans in a way divorced from actual political practice. Conversely, discourse is an analytical tool that intimately links rhetoric with practice. It depicts how the new military-backed regime constitutes itself vis-à-vis its supporters as well as its rivals and how it perceives itself, both ...

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Le projet de ville nouvelle Bio-Istanbul: Un urbanisme spéculatif, ségrégatif et durable

Maquette Bio-Istanbul. Photo Elvan Arik.

Ekolojik (écologique), yeşil (vert), doğal (naturel) ou akıllı (intelligente équivalent du smart anglais), tels sont les nouveaux concepts de plus en plus mis en avant par les brochures publicitaires des projets immobiliers à Istanbul. Labélisés du sceau de la «durabilité» (sürdürülebilirlik en turc), terminologie ayant signé son entrée dans le vocabulaire des politiques urbaines depuis le début des années 2000 en Turquie (Pérouse 2011), ces projets témoignent-ils pour autant des nouvelles manières de penser et de produire l’urbain dans la métropole stambouliote? Pour répondre à cette interrogation, il nous paraît utile dans un temps introductif de ...

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Evden Emlaga Fikirtepe: Rant ve Spekulasyon Ekseninde Kentsel Donusum

[Fikirtepe. Photo by Duygu Parmaksizoglu.]

Evden Emlağa Fikirtepe: Rant ve Spekülasyon Ekseninde Kentsel Dönüşüm  Bir şehir antropoloğunun saha notları Saha çalışmasına başladığım 2013 yılının Mart ayında Fikirtepe bölgesi, kentsel dönüşüm macerasında iki yılı çoktan geride bırakmıştı. Çalışmalara başladığım sırada altmış yapı adasından oluşan bölgede üç ada tamamıyla yıkılmış, bazı adalarda da başta kiracılar olmak üzere bir çok insan evlerini boşaltıp gitmeye, sokaklar yavaş da olsa ıssızlaşmaya başlamıştı. O zamanki notlarıma dönüp baktığımda mahallede yaşayan insanlardan sıklıkla duyduğum şey, içinde yaşadıkları belirsizlikle ilgili duydukları sıkıntılardı. Proje ilk ortaya çıktığında yaşanılan ...

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Quick Thoughts on the Saudi Transition and Beyond: A STATUS/الوضع conversation with Toby Jones

With the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, there is much press speculation about change in the Kingdom. In this Quick Thoughts interview for Status, Toby Jones parses through these debates and highlights the more salient points, identifying how this transition should be analyzed beyond hyperbolic prognostication. Toby C. Jones is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University. He has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East, including several years in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. ...

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The Right to Food Safety: Rights-Based Dialogue as a Springboard towards State-Building

The stances taken by Lebanon’s Public Health Minister Wael Abou Faour in November 2014 took the country by surprise. Departing completely from the norm, Abou Faour published lists of actual businesses that have persisted in producing or selling food unfit for consumption, or not conforming to health standards. Fellow Ministers and others from outside the cabinet criticized Abou Faour, accusing him of adopting a policy of defamation that could have a negative impact on Lebanon’s economy.[1] In response, ...

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A Compound in Common: The Case of “Little Duweiqa,” Haram City

While the eyes of the world focused on the intermittent occupations of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in the four years since the Egyptian uprising of 2011, a different kind of social action has persisted at the city’s periphery. On 13 August 2010 and in February 2011, during the eighteen days leading to Hosni Mubarak’s fall, a group of 231 resettled slum dweller families from the impoverished Duweiqa district of Cairo abandoned their allocated twenty three square-meter homes to squat liveable ones in Haram ...

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Visualizing Impact: The Long Run & On the Brink

[The following infographics were originally published by Visualizing Impact.] The Long Run This graphic shows the struggle that the region's youth must counter in their struggle to reach the age of independence.  The weight of multiple social and economic factors in the region have kept youth from finding a first job and ultimately reaching the financial security to afford to marry and become independent from their families. Created in collaboration with Silatech, our hope is that this ...

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On the Margins Roundup (December)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to info@jadaliyya.com.]  Mauritania Mauritania Will Toughen Anti-Corruption Laws Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced plans to strengthen laws ...

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Explaining the Bahraini Regime's Land Reclamation Strategy (Video)

The following Financial Times video report reveals the Bahraini regime’s massive land reclamation projects for luxury developments, which solely benefits the ruling elites and takes place at the expense of affordable housing, and as such, has exacerbated anti-regime opposition since 2011.

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قل انتهاكات الحقوق الاقتصادية ولا تقل جرائم الفساد

كنتُ قد حضرتُ ورشةَ عمل مؤخراً في كيب تاون في جنوب أفريقيا، وهي المدينة التي قضى فيها مانديلا سنوات سجنه السبع وعشرين، قبل أن يُطلق سراحه عام 1990 ليقود مفاوضات مع نظام الفصل العنصري (الأبارتايد) حتى يصبح أول رئيس أسود لجنوب أفريقيا عام 1994، لينتهي بعدها نظام الفصل العنصري في جنوب أفريقيا. لكن برغم انتهاء نظام الفصل العنصري رسمياً وقانونياً، ما زالت التركيبة الاجتماعية والاقتصادية للمجتمع الجنوب الأفريقي كما كانت قبل سقوط النظام، ويعتقد كثير من المهتمين بالشأن العام في جنوب أفريقيا أن الديمقراطية ...

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Beyond Uncritical Optimism: The Challenges for Transitional Tunisia

Tunisia will go to the polls on 26 October in order to decide the composition of the new parliament and the new political balance that will determine the next phases of political transition. Since the uprising, there have been many and important steps toward real political and institutional change. Indeed, Tunisia has undergone a process of policy change involving the liberalization of political landscape, the subsequent participation of new political forces in the electoral process, the marginalization ...

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Liberalizmin tasfiyesi ve Ortadogu'da alacakaranlik

Liberalizmin tasfiyesi ve Ortadoğu'da alacakaranlık Çok umutlar bağlandı Türkiye’ye. Doğu ile Batı arasındaki köprüydü o. 1950’lerde dahi Amerikalı sosyal bilimcilerin gözdesiydi. “Batı-dışı” toplumların (devrimci hayallere kalkışmadan) modernleşebileceğini gösteriyordu çünkü. 1990’lardan itibaren çerçeve bir parça değişti. Artık Türkiye’nin belirleyici özelliği, Müslüman kimliği ile liberalizmi uzlaştırabilmesiydi. Ak Parti iktidarı, bu beklentileri zirveye taşıdı. 2011 Arap ayaklanmalarından sonra da, ...

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From Home to Real Estate: Urban Redevelopment on the Axis of Speculation in Istanbul

A major urban redevelopment project in Fikirtepe had been going on for two years by the time I began my fieldwork in March 2013. During that time, three construction islands out of sixty had been entirely demolished, and many people, including many renters, had left the place. The streets were becoming more desolate every day. Looking back at my notes from those days, the one thing I kept hearing from my informants was the anxieties caused by uncertainty. The excitement that came with the introduction of ...

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Call For Papers: Knowledge-Based Development in the Gulf (Kuwait, March 2015)

Knowledge-Based Development in the Gulf Call for Papers Kuwait, 13-15 March 2015 Deadline: 15 October 2014  The Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait will hold its second Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS) on 13-15 March 2015. The GSS is a meeting of worldwide Gulf scholars and researchers held biennially in Kuwait. Each symposium is based on a particular scholarly theme that is timely both to the region and to the field of Gulf studies. The theme of the 2015 GSS is ...

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Arab Bank Case Sets Limited Precedent

On Monday September 22, 2014, a jury in the US District Court of Brooklyn found that the Arab Bank is liable for financing terrorism. This is the first jury trial to find a bank liable for financing terrorism under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The Arab Bank contends that the case was riddled with errors that should be rectified upon appeal before the Second Circuit. The Central Bank of Jordan has come out in support of the Bank, whose earnings constitute a quarter of the country’s stock market ...

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