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Statehood in the Middle East

Abstract

 The crisis of statehood in the Middle East was caused by factors not uncommon for the contemporary international developments, but specifically refracted in the context of the original cultures of the peoples and countries of the region. The protests in the Arab States, signifying the pain of gaining civic self-esteem and dignity; crisis of secularism; attempts to repel imposed identities and a search for the cultural roots can be attributed to the mainstream global trends, but in the forms corresponding to the specific organization of Arab societies. The formation of modern Arab States experienced the powerful impact of the Western nationalism, but the adoption of Western ideologies went hand in hand with rejection of Western models of social inclusion. A special place in the region is taken by Israel built in compliance with the Western political model, although, also partially revised under the influence of ethnopolitical considerations and security challenges. The coexistence of tradition and modernity not only in the social structure of Middle Eastern societies, but also in the minds of citizens and their behavioral patterns are correlated with the level of development of modern institutions, which are either weak or nonexistent in a number of Arab States. The prospects of nation building that would respond to the public expectations, based on the synthesis of modernist and postmodernist discourses, of modernity and archaism are not yet clear. An appeal to religion and its politicization may be an important but not necessarily uncontested element of searching for new models of statehood in the region.

Keywords:

The Middle East; Arab awakening; political Islam; nation state; post-secularism; modernity and archaism; development models


Authors: Irina Zvyagelskaya. Vasily Kuznetsov

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