Oil States in the New Middle East: Uprisings and stability, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Oil States in the New Middle East

Uprisings and stability, 1st Edition

Edited by Kjetil Selvik, Bjørn Olav Utvik


212 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Oil has been central to regime survival for oil states across the Arabian Peninsula and has been at the heart of their attempts to defuse the wave of Arab revolutions. However, in 2011 revolution hit Libya, the most oil dependent regime in the Middle East. The political storm winds that have swept this region have thrown into doubt the resilience of Arab rentier states, and highlight how the political effects of oil vary across the oil producing countries.

Oil States in the New Middle East brings together leading experts to critically assess the centrality of oil and the relevance of Rentier State Theory in light of the post-2011 upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa. It combines overall reflections on the political dynamics in oil states with focused case investigations of individual countries. Taking as its starting point the centrality of oil in explanations of regime survival, the book analyses how the oil states have responded to and fared throughout the Arab popular upheavals, resulting in a critical assessment of the continued relevance of Rentier State Theory. While observers have asked how the uprisings varied between oil and non-oil states, this book turns the comparative focus inward, arguing for a more fine-grained understanding of the political effects of oil in different oil producing countries.

This book would be of interest to students and scholars of Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Studies, Oil and Politics, as well as Comparative Politics and International Political Economy.


'Oil States in the New Middle East: Uprisings and Stability is a good primer about the new conditions that are shaping the Gulf countries in the aftermath of the Arab springs. The book offers convincing critical analysis to students and scholars of Middle Eastern Studies, Oil and Politics, and International Politics.'

Arab Studies Quarterly

Table of Contents

Chapter one: Introduction: The Rentier Bargain at the Trial of the Arab Uprisings Bjørn Olav Utvik Chapter two: Re-thinking the Politics of Distributive States: Lessons from the Arab Uprisings Gwenn Okruhlik Chapter three: Youth and the Arab revolutions Kjetil Bjorvatn and Jacob Høigilt Chapter four: Guest workers as a barrier to democratization in oil-rich countries Halvor Mehlum, Kalle Moene and Gry Østenstad Chapter five: Back to the 70s? Saudi Youth and the Kingdom’s Political Economy after the Arab Uprisings Steffen Hertog Chapter six: Kuwait – The Politics of Crisis Ghanim Alnajjar and Kjetil Selvik Chapter seven: Bahrain: Rentierism and Beyond Jane Kinninmont Chapter eight: Iraq: Can a Fractured Rentier State Be Rebuilt? Robert Springborg Chapter nine: Regime legitimation in Algeria after the Arab Spring: Reclaiming ownership to ‘revolution’ Jenny Holmsen Chapter ten: Libya: The Dynamics of the 2011 Revolution Alison Pargeter Chapter eleven: On the Economic Causes of the Arab Spring and its Possible Developments Giacomo Luciani

About the Editors

Kjetil Selvik is Senior Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen.

Bjørn Olav Utvik is Professor in Middle East History and Director of the Centre for Islamic and Middle East Studies at the University of Oslo.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government

This series examines new ways of understanding democratization and government in the Middle East. The varied and uneven processes of change, occurring in the Middle Eastern region, can no longer be read and interpreted solely through the prism of Euro-American transitology. Seeking to frame critical parameters in light of these new horizons, this series instigates reinterpretations of democracy and propagates formerly ‘subaltern,’ narratives of democratization. Reinvigorating discussion on how Arab and Middle Eastern peoples and societies seek good government, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government provides tests and contests of old and new assumptions.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies