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Political Economy

الهَدم والبناء الاستعماري في الجولان

[لافتات للدلالة على المكان تشير إلى

افتتاحية في السابع من أيلول من العام المُنصرم، داهمت سلطات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي قرية مجدل شمس السورية، ونفّذت أمام أعين عشرات السكّان، مُستخدمةً جرّافاتها الثقيلة، أمر هدم منزل السيّد بسام جميل إبراهيم وزوجته داليا بدعوى تشييده دون ترخيص بناء، معلنةً بذلك نيّتها عن هدم عشرات المنازل التابعة للسكان السوريين في قرى الجولان المُحتل1. بالرغم من أن عملية الهدم هذه قد تبدو سابقة في قرى الجولان المُحتل في العقد الأخير، إلّا أنها في الواقع لا تشكّل حدثًا مفصليًا وفريدًا من نوعه، بل حتى بعيدة كل البعد عن ذلك. كَيف لنا قراءة مُمارسة المشروع الصهيوني تجاه الحيّز والجغرافيا في الجولان؟ وأين يمكن مَوضَعة هدم البيوت اليوم في السياق التاريخي الأوسع، وأية عمليات للبناء تقوم مقابل هذا ...

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Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council Crisis

[Logo of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)]

It is tempting, and not entirely inaccurate, to dismiss the escalating crisis between Qatar and a number of its neighbors as a petulant princely playground spat. Extending this tempting logic, one could conclude that decisive victory by each of the protagonists would be the optimal outcome. Yet the dispute also reflects deeper dynamics in Arab and regional politics that are shaping the increasingly turbulent and violent realities of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Cooperation Council The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is the locus of the present crisis, was established in 1981 by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates ...

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جزيرة اللجوء المؤجل: قبرص

[محل حلاقة سوري في لارنكا]

مزّق محمد، اللاجئ السوري، ورقة قبول العمل التي مُنحت له بعد مقابلات عدة في مهن أرسل إليها من قبل "مكتب التشغيل والتأمين" في مدينة لارنكا القبرصية، كانت الفرصة الممنوحة له "عاملاً لفرز المعادن في معمل خردوات وقمامة يبعد عن بيته أكثر من 25 كيلومتراً" يقول محمد.ح (25 عاماً)، المتخرج من كلية الإعلام – جامعة دمشق، والذي وصل إلى قبرص منذ عامين على متن باخرة تركيا أوصلته مقابل (50 دولاراَ) إلى القسم التركي المحتل من الجزيرة، وهناك دفع مبلغ الدخول قرب ميناء " كيرينيا" شمال قبرص. لم يستطع محمد.ح التغلّب على مشكلة الكتابة والقراءة باللغة اليونانية حتى يستطيع العمل ولو في مهنة قريبة من عالم الورق: "بحثت بنفسي عن موقع وزارة التربية ...

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Political Economy Summer Institute: Two Public Events | GMU

This weekend, the Political Economy Project is holding its second annual Political Economy Summer Institute (PESI) at George Mason University. The summer institute brings together some two dozen participants (both graduate students/researchers and instructors) for four intense days of instruction and engagement.  Around the summer institute, we are holding two public events. One is a keynote lecture on Oilcraft by Robert Vitalis, and the other is a panel on the Political Econnomy of the Arab Uprisings. For further information on either the Political Economy Project or the Summer Institute, visit ...

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Paradoxes of ‘New Turkey’

[AKP supporters at a rally following the July 2016 coup attempt. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

“New Turkey” has become since 2014 a popular slogan employed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to express its political project of remaking the nation. However, it has been in a political abyss since the parliamentary elections on 7 June 2015, when the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) gained around thirteen percent of the votes, thereby becoming the first pro-Kurdish party to exceed the electoral threshold in the history of Turkey’s parliamentary democracy. One of the slogans that marked the HDP election campaign was: “We are not going to allow you to become President,” referring to the AKP’s oft-threatened plan to pass constitutional amendments that would grant ...

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Diyarbakir: The Heart of this City Beats in Suriçi

[Suriçi. Image via the author.]

One day in Suriçi, 1 March 2017: from Melik Ahmet Avenue to Balıkçılar, from there to Dağkapı, we follow the destruction and reconstruction. From Melik Ahmet Avenue, we are moving on to Balıkçılar. There are several police and task forces ahead on one of the narrow streets to the right. Mostly female police, wearing bulletproof jackets, are waiting with long black batons in their hands. The street entrance is closed. Thinking that he might be a journalist, I approach someone holding a camera in his hand and wearing ordinary clothing to ask what is going on. He says it is a women’s meeting. In the evening, I learn from the newspaper Şûjin: women met to make a call for ...

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Arabian Tragedy, or Noir?

The first page of the preface to Farah Al-Nakib’s Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life (Stanford University Press, 2016) begins with the author sitting in a community garden in Kuwait. She is chatting with one Maryam, who is explaining the garden’s origins by recalling that some years ago she wondered to herself that something was missing in this city she lived in. In stark contrast to the preface’s rather bucolic and ponderous mood, the book’s introduction begins very differently. It recounts shocking violence in that same city. A murder: the stabbing of a Kuwaiti-Lebanese (my term) dentist with a meat cleaver in the parking lot of Kuwait’s largest ...

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Changing Ecologies of War and Humanitarianism - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Omar Dewachi and Jonathan Whittall

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Mohamad Ali Nayel speaks with Omar Dewachi and Jonathan Whittall about the changing nature of humanitarianism from an academic and a practitioner’s perspectives. Omar Dewachi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at American University of Beirut (AUB). Trained as a physician in Iraq during the 1990s, Dewachi received his doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard University in 2008. His research explores the social and medical consequences of war in the Middle East with focus on Iraq. Dewachi teaches a variety of courses on social medicine, global health and medical anthropology at AUB. He is the co-Director ...

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Dark Beirut: The (In)Visibility of Electricity

[Electricity pole in Hamra. Photo by Abi Weaver, 2016]

As filmmakers and researchers working on electricity in Beirut, it is tempting to become too attached to the visible, namely electricity wires that drape the city like garlands, dangerously gaping down at pedestrians, changing their paths, forcing detours. The ubiquity of wires stretching like lianas from rooftops, or hanging heavily in overgrown bunches from leaning poles, inches from your head is difficult to avoid. The crowding of sky and street by intertwining cables, whose origins and destinations are difficult to trace, is one of the most distinctive features of the city’s urban landscape, and a very explicit metaphor of Lebanon’s chronic electricity crisis. The ...

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: Apartheid

Andy Clarno, Neoliberal Apartheid (University of Chicago Press, 2017). In some of the earliest editions of Al-Hadaf, the journal of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, there is explicit mention of the myriad similarities between the “racist, settler colonial regimes” occupying the antipodes of Africa and the crossroads of the Levant. The Popular Front in theory and practice understood their struggle as linked to that of the South African liberation movement. It is against that rich trove of reflection, penned by revolutionaries fighting for their lives, that Andy Clarno deliberately situates his important study of the post-Oslo/post-Apartheid systems ...

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Six Years: Roundtable on Arab Uprisings

The Arab world has been fundamentally transformed in the past six years, as part of ongoing processes that are certain to continue for some time to come. Throughout this period Jadaliyya has been providing analysis of the Arab uprisings, in their varied manifestations and in all their dimensions. This has included the events and people who set this train in motion, and the struggles and aspirations of the many that participated. Also covered were the new forms of governance that came out of the ensuing struggles, and the ways in which regimes have sought to preserve, resurrect, or recalibrate the status quo. This is to say nothing of regional and international powers ...

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A Preface to A Critique of Instant Analysis and Scholarship on the Arab Uprisings

Much of the writing on the Arab uprisings continues to suffer from the new think-tank-ish, self-important, semi-casual, sloppy-analysis syndromes. It is as if having a platform and a mandate are sufficient to produce sound knowledge. For the most part, the proof is in the pudding. Follow platforms and individuals across time and space and this becomes clear: zigzagging and pendulum-swing judgments and analysis, driven more by events and politics than by historical and analytical depth. Worse still, this sloppiness has extended to scholars who frequently opine on social media and electronic publication platforms that seek content quantity over quality in a mutually ...

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Full Circles: Hamas Goes to Cairo

During the past week, a Hamas delegation paid an official visit to Egypt, which these days is news in and of itself. During its time in Cairo, the delegation also met with former Fatah warlord Muhammad Dahlan, which is even bigger news. The Hamas delegation was led by Yahya Sinwar. A leader of Hamas’s Martyr Izz-al-Din Qassam Brigades – who served more than twenty years in Israel’s prisons until released in a 2011 exchange – Sinwar was recently elected to lead the movement in the occupied Gaza Strip, ...

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Caught Between Two Fires: Sudanese Refugees in Jordan

Ahmad is poised as a journalist from Kutum, a town that lies 120 kilm away from El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur in Sudan. His towering figure and wide shoulders sway slowly with each calculated step he takes around his home’s uneven floor, leaning on his aluminum cane for support. He is among the many Darfuris that have in recent years actively spoken out about persecution in their homeland: I am forced to raise my voice because my family members are victims. There are real problems: rape, ...

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Corruption et réforme en Tunisie: les dangers d'une analyse élitiste

Le 24 mai, une série d'arrestations de personnalités de haut rang a secoué la Tunisie. Un groupe d'hommes d'affaires éminents, des entrepreneurs dans l'économie parallèle, ainsi que des hauts fonctionnaires des services douaniers ont été arrêtés dans le cadre de ce que le chef du gouvernement Youssef Chahed a décrit comme le début d'une nouvelle guerre contre la corruption dans le pays. Randis que Chahed recevait beaucoup de louanges publiques après cette annonce, certains analystes ont décrit la ...

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Corruption and Reform in Tunisia: The Dangers of an Elitist Analysis

On May 24th, a wave of high-profile arrests rocked Tunisia. A range of prominent businessmen, entrepreneurs in the parallel economy, as well as high-ranking officials in the customs services were arrested in what the Head of the Government Youssef Chahed described as the beginning of a new crack-down on corruption in the country. While Chahed received much public applause for this announcement, analysts have begun framing the sudden crackdown as a power move in a political system in which both ...

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The Master Plans of Baghdad: Notes on GIS-Based Spatial History

In 1967 the state planning office Miastoprojekt Krakow from socialist Poland delivered the master plan of Baghdad which, together with its amendment that followed in 1973, provided the legal framework for the development of the Iraqi capital during the oil-boom era. With the 1973 plan about to be replaced by a new one, a graduate seminar Mapping Baghdad 1956-2016 at the Manchester School of Architecture looked back at the fifty years of history of Miastoprojekt’s plans for Baghdad, their guiding ideas, ...

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New Texts Out Now: Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, A Taste for Home: The Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut

Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, A Taste for Home: The Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut. Stanford University Press, 2017. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toufoul Abou-Hodeib (TAH): The book started with the idea of using extant homes as a material archive, which grew out of my experience as an architecture student and a practicing architect in Beirut in the 1990s and early 2000s. The frantic post-war reconstruction of Beirut in the 1990s was accompanied by a pace of deconstruction that literally ...

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Political Economy Project Book Prize Competition: Call For Books Published in 2016

2017 BOOK PRIZE COMPETITION The Political Economy Project (PEP) is pleased to invite nominations for our 2017 Middle East Political Economy Book Prize. PEP aims to recognize and disseminate exceptional critical work on the political economy of the Middle East. While the book must have a political economy theme, we welcome nominations from across academic disciplines. Submissions will be read and judged by a committee drawn from PEP’s membership. Eligible texts must ...

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The World in the City and the City in the World: Reading the Janet Abu-Lughod Library

For a young scholar, a figure like Janet Abu-Lughod can seem almost impossibly prolific. Among the fields to which Abu-Lughod made celebrated contributions, we find urban sociology, world systems theory, studies of colonialism, and racial injustice (from Palestine, to the United States, to Morocco!), the history of Cairo, globalization, the politics of neighborhood preservation, and the cause of women in academia. Her refusal to compromise between breadth and depth seems to contrast with our own academic ...

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Announcing the 2016 Middle East Political Economy Book Prize Winners

The Political Economy Project (PEP) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Middle East Political Economy Book Prize. With this prize, PEP aims to recognize and disseminate exceptional critical work on the political economy of the Middle East. For its inaugural award, the selection committee welcomed nominations for books on political economy published between 2013-2015 from a range of publishers and across academic disciplines. After reviewing a dozen submissions, the ...

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The Precarity of Youth: Entrepreneurship is not the Solution

In 2011, the year people across the Arab world poured into the streets demanding bread, dignity and social justice, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, by labor economist Guy Standing, hit the stands. Though Standing’s work wasn’t informed by events in the region, his book on labor and life amid anxiety in the 21st century speaks more pointedly to the realities of many young people in the Middle East and North Africa than the much-anticipated 2016 Arab Human Development ...

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Why Space Matters in the Arab Uprisings (and Beyond)

Many non-scholarly and scholarly accounts on the societies, culture, and political economy of the Middle East post-“Arab Uprisings/Spring” still deal with cities and regions as mere repositories of social, cultural, political, and economic action—despite the spatial turn that has informed social sciences and humanities for more than three decades ago now. Indeed, they often overlook the shaping roles of the built and natural environments in the production of events unraveling in cities and regions ...

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Doubling Down: Jordan Six Years into the Arab Uprisings

The political economy of Jordan today is characterized by greater degrees of authoritarianism and neoliberalism than was the case in 2010. Yet two trends in knowledge production on Jordan seem to claim otherwise. The first of these trends privileges narrowly defined security concerns. The second assumes the best of intentions by a core group of those in power. Whether through reporting or analysis, authors of either suasion typically ignore the machinations of authoritarianism and neoliberalism in ...

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