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Nationalism in the Gulf states

Partrick, Neil (2009) Nationalism in the Gulf states. Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States (5). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The relatively new states of the Arabian Gulf do not have a ‘nationalist’ history as understood elsewhere in the Middle East. Not born out of a struggle for national self determination, nor, for much of the modern state era, seeking territorial aggrandizement, Gulf Arab leaders have tended to use tribal and religious identities to reinforce their domestic legitimacy. However, these other identities weaken national coherence. In the current context of internal disquiet about foreign population numbers, Iran’s rising regional prominence and sectarian sensitivities within some GCC states, national identity is increasingly being employed as a state-building tool. However, steps to boost national identity do not necessarily create coherent national communities. As the state-led invention of national tradition is stepped up, usually without reference to disparate and sometimes disputatious groups, inclusion is not being felt across the national communities. While progress has arguably been made in some GCC states in at least addressing the limitations to national coherence, nationalism in the Gulf remains a highly contested notion, liable to promote as much as conceal national division.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2014 17:24
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 23:20
Funders: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences

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