[P4953] Politics, History and State Formation in the Modern Middle East

Created by Allison Hartnett
Monday, 11/20/17 8:00am


The formation and consolidation of the state is the most significant post-colonial political development in the Middle East. After colonial rule, the region underwent a protracted and turbulent period of state formation until the emergence of the bureaucratic state in the 1970s. A substantial comparative politics literature argues that pre-state and colonial institutions have a profound impact on contemporary political order. Yet, the study of post-independence Middle Eastern state formation is rarely linked to pre-state politics.

This panel explores the extent to which the struggles of state formation can be attributed to pre-state institutions in the Middle East. For scholars interested in the legacy of pre-state politics on contemporary political order, the states of the Middle East present a fertile ground for hypothesis testing. Much of the region once lived under the Ottoman Empire, but contains an exceptional diversity of pre-state institutions, exhibiting the full range from centralized bureaucratic polities to tribal societies. The variation in post-colonial state formation outcomes should be considered in light of these diverse antecedent forms of governance, bureaucracy and political identity.

The papers establish causal links between Ottoman and colonial patterns of sociopolitical organization and post-colonial state formation, with case study-analysis covering Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Iraq. They employ quantitative and qualitative methods to trace the relationships between pre-state uneven capitalist development, contested centralization, and elite coalitions and modern state capacity, efficacy and survival. Taken together, they offer answers to the question of how the past impacts the present, and the extent to which we can attribute contemporary crises of state to long-term historical processes in the Middle East.


Pol Science



Fred H. Lawson

(Mills College)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Matteo Legrenzi

(Ca' Foscari U of Venice)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Daniel Neep

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Djene Bajalan

(Missouri State University)
Djene Rhys Bajalan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Missouri State University Springfield. His research interests include nationalism and ethnicity in the Ottoman Empire as well as the origins and development of Kurdish 'nationalism'....
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Allison Hartnett

(University of Oxford)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;