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Migration and popular protest in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf in the 1950s and 1960s

Chalcraft, John (2011) Migration and popular protest in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf in the 1950s and 1960s. International Labor and Working Class History, 79 (1(S)). pp. 28-47. ISSN 0147-5479

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S014754791000030X


The conventional historiography on popular and labor protest in the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf since the Second World War tends to ascribe a negative role to migration. Migrants-dragooned into the service of expanding oil economies-are often depicted as undermining the cohesion and efficacy of indigenous labor activism and popular protest. This article adopts a different perspective. It revisits the most important twentieth-century wave of pan-Arab, secular, republican, and socialist protest in the region-that of the 1950s and 1960s-and highlights the positive contribution migrants made. They were not just quotients of labor power, but interpretive and political subjects. Palestinians, Yemenis, and others, along with return-and circular-migrants, exiles, and visitors, transmitted pan-Arab and Leftist ideas, helped build activist organizations, and participated in a variety of protests. I suggest that standard forms of endogenous socioeconomic determinism in the labor history of the region need rethinking.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 International History and Working-Class History Inc
Divisions: Government
Middle East Centre
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Sets: Departments > Government
Research centres and groups > Middle East Centre
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 13:52
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 04:37

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