SUMMARY:This panel interrogates the meaning and uses of citizenship in the Middle East using novel data and theoretical approaches. Most of the concepts and theories of citizenship in the existing interdisciplinary literature reflect ideas and contexts from Western Europe and North America. As such, they do not necessarily apply to or fully capture citizenship in other regions, like the Middle East. This panel thus aims to develop novel and more precise characterizations and explanations of citizenship in the region that contribute to the broader citizenship literature, particularly in emerging areas, such as investment, precarious, and ambiguous citizenship. These insights, though rooted in the Middle East, can reveal aspects of citizenship that exist, but may be less apparent, in other contexts.
In pursuit of these goals, the panel’s papers feature cutting-edge research on some of the most pressing and underexplored aspects of citizenship both in the region and globally. These include studies of how precarious groups, including protracted refugees, experience and enact citizenship as well as how conceptions of citizenship can change, including from the bottom-up, through mass protests, and from the top-down, amidst incentives to naturalize investors and other “valuable” individuals. The papers use diverse methods and data to assess these topics, ranging from ethnography and participant observation, to process tracing using data from interviews, archival files, and government statements, and to textual and visual analyses of newspapers, social media, and cultural productions. Collectively, these papers identify and probe gaps in the citizenship literature through in-depth assessments of how citizenship operates in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. By deeply contextualizing citizenship in these countries, the papers find and propose new concepts that can help elucidate and better capture citizenship more broadly. Specifically, the papers challenge and expand traditional conceptualizations of citizenship by revealing new or unseen: motivations for the content of citizenship policies, ways of enacting citizenship, and forms of citizenship that can emerge in response to official decisions or popular rhetoric. The papers thus advance scholarship on citizenship in the Middle East while proposing novel concepts and theories that extend the field of citizenship studies.
DISCIPLINES:Hist; Pol Science; Pol Science; Pol Science; Pol Science