This volume focuses on the influence that borders in the Middle East can have on actors’ identity building, as well as how local, national, or transnational actors re/ define borders and boundaries.
The Middle East is facing a political crisis, revealed by the Arab uprisings, that is affecting states’ borders in a paradoxical way: while local, communal, or tribal dissent tends to contest international borders, states are trying to affirm their control over national territory in building border fences. Focusing on borders in their materiality as well as their symbolic dimensions – their representations – may help with reappraising the region’s own history, the local/national specificities, as well as regional/ global constraints affecting borderlands and those who cross borders; be they workers, migrants, or jihadists. In this book, six case studies will provide insights on state- community relationships through the lens of border issues in the Levant and the Gulf. The theoretical framework provided by the border studies conceptual tools allows authors to delve into the process of bordering, de- bordering, and re- bordering which is affecting the region, raising questions on sovereignty, authority, and the political legitimacy of the regimes.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Geopolitics.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Special Issue: Bordering the Middle East
1. States and Caliphates
2. Tribal Identity in Times of Peril
3. Borders and Spatial Imaginaries in the Kuwaiti Identity
4. Discreet and Hegemonic Borderscapes of Galilee: Lebanese Residents of Israel and the Israel–Lebanon Border
5. So Close, So Far. National Identity and Political Legitimacy in UAE-Oman Border Cities
6. International Boundaries and Borderlands in the Middle East: Balancing Context, Exceptionalism and Representation
Daniel Meier is Associated Researcher at CNRS- Pacte in Grenoble, France, and teaches at Sciences Po Grenoble, France, and Ca’Foscari University, Venice, Italy. He conducted extensive fieldwork in the Middle East and was a former Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, UK. His research focuses on the relationship between space and identity in the Middle East.