The Transnational Middle East: People, Places, Borders, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Transnational Middle East

People, Places, Borders, 1st Edition

Edited by Leïla Vignal


288 pages

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The Middle East has been undergoing new crises since the powerful socio-political uprisings known as the Arab Spring took place in several countries in 2011. Some countries are experiencing a long-term collapse of their political and social structures out of internal conflicts and external interventions.

The Transnational Middle East posits that, in the Middle East, the development of regional dynamics, of processes and circulations of all kinds, can be documented. In this regard, the approaches it develops — ‘bottom-up’ regionalisation, ‘globalisation from below’ — allow for a better understanding of the ways in which the Middle East is part of global transformations. The book analyses how, through their practices, Middle East societies elaborate a regional space which is not institutionalised. Based on fieldwork in the Middle East, the book provides venues for further theoretical elaboration on globalisation and contemporary societies, as well as on processes of regionalisation. It draws on the emergence of genuine regional spaces of culture, art, economic activity, human circulation — which supplement and do not contradict other infra-national, national, or global social processes. As in other areas of the world, these transformations are to a large extent the mode of the Middle East’s insertion into globalisation. In this respect, they go against standard narratives of the supposed ‘exceptionalism’ of the region.

This book will be a great contribution to comparative politics, Middle Eastern studies, globalisation and international relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Transnational Geographies of the Middle East in Times of Globalisation and Uprisings

[Leïla Vignal]

Part I: People on the Move

1. Managing Transnational Labour in the Arab Gulf: External and Internal Dynamics of Migration Politics since the 1950s

[Hélène Thiollet]

2. Transnational Connections between Egypt and the Gulf: The Experiences of Migrants in the Emirates after the Arab Spring

[Delphine Pagès-El Karoui]

3. Pharisees, Tartuffes and Agnostics: Migration and Religious Exchanges between Cairo and the Gulf

[Lucile Gruntz]

4. A Life in Asylum: Sudanese Mobility between Egypt and Israel and the Reconfiguration of Political Structures in the Middle East

[Pauline Brücker]


Part II: Flows, Routes and Borders

5. Gulf Investments in the Middle East: Linking Places, Shaping a Region

[Armelle Choplin and Leïla Vignal]

6. Sinbad the Sailor Revived? Oman and its Indian Ocean Links

[Steffen Wippel]

7. The Routes of Globalisation Between Algeria and Dubai: Local Impact and Regional Change

[Brahim Benlakhlef and Pierre Bergel]

8. Circulating by Default. Yerevan and Erbil, the Backyards of Iranian Mobility

[Amin Moghadam and Serge Weber]

9. The Wartime Emergence of a Transnational Region between Turkey and Syria (2008–2015)

[Benoît Montabone]


Part III: Circulations of Ideas, Models and Culture

10. Arab Cultural Foundations and the Metamorphoses of Pan-Arabism

[Franck Mermier]

11. Youth literature in the Arab Middle East: Creation without Borders?

[Mathilde Chèvre]

12. Beirut-Dubai: Translocal Dynamics and the Production of Alternative Urban Art Districts

[Sophie Brones and Amin Moghadam]

13. Sustainable Urban Development: A Vector of Regional Integration for the Countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean?

[Pierre-Arnaud Barthel]


1. Place: The Commercial Neighbourhood of Deira in Dubai: A Supply Site for Algerian Traders

[Brahim Benlakhlef and Pierre Bergel]

2. People: Mamali Shafahi, Mobile Artist and Curator

[Amin Moghadam]

3. Activity: A Princely Dream: Kalimat Publishing in Sharjah

[Mathilde Chèvre]

4. Place: Salalah: Port of the Indian Ocean

[Steffen Wippel]

5. People: Hamma: A Tunisian Trader Buying Stock in Ain Fakroun, Algeria

[Brahim Benlakhlef and Pierre Bergel]

6. Place: Sohar

[Steffen Wippel]

7. Place: The Algerian-Tunisian Border: A Passage for Oil Smugglers

[Brahim Benlakhlef and Pierre Bergel]

About the Editor

Leïla Vignal is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Rennes-2, France. She is also a Marie Curie Fellow of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, UK.

About the Series

The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms Series

The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms Series
The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms Series presents innovative analyses of a range of novel regional relations and institutions. Going beyond established, formal, interstate economic organizations, this essential series provides informed interdisciplinary and international research and debate about myriad heterogeneous intermediate-level interactions. Reflective of its cosmopolitan and creative orientation, this series is developed by an international editorial team of established and emerging scholars in both the South and North. It reinforces ongoing networks of analysts in both academia and think-tanks as well as international agencies concerned with micro-, meso- and macro-level regionalisms.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic Conditions
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Middle Eastern