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Contemporary socio-political issues of the Arab Gulf moment

Abdulla, Abdulkhaleq (2010) Contemporary socio-political issues of the Arab Gulf moment. Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States (11). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Things are changing fast in the Arab Gulf States (AGS) or are they? Conventional wisdom tends to reinforce the prevailing view that these relatively small yet oil rich states have been experiencing rapid changes for the past three decades. Sociopolitical realities, however point towards continuity and more of the same tribal, conservative and mainly traditional way of life just as much as they support arguments for change. The same fundamental drivers that are producing massive changes are simultaneously preserving sociopolitical continuity in the AGS. Relentless debate over societal change and continuity and old thinking versus new thinking are just one of several sociopolitical issues hotly debated in the AGS. Other key contemporary sociopolitical issues publicly debated include: the political reform/political stagnation debate, the Kuwait/Dubai development model debate, the rentier state/post rentier state debate, the local/global debate, the exceptionalist/normalist paradigm debate, and needlessly the thorny national identity/ demographic imbalance debate. These are among some the most divisive sociopolitical issues currently preoccupying governments and societies of the AGS. Much of the next phase of political development depends on how the AGS manage to successfully attend to these pending old and new challenges. How all these sociopolitical issues are handled in the next few years could determine the transition of the AGS not just towards good governance and stable and prosperous entities but their eventual emergence as the major center of power shaping Arab politics in the first half of the 21st century. This paper examines some of the key issues and concepts that are at the forefront of the intellectual and academic debate in the AGS. The central questions posed have to do with how much of the new thinking is in essence old thinking.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2014 10:46
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:17

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