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Instability in the Middle East

Černý, Karel

translated by: Jones, Philip
e-book,  1. release
published: July 2017
ISBN 9788024631912 (PDF)

recommended price:  420 CZK

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Middle Eastern instability is manifest externally in many ways: by crises afflicting governing regimes, the rise of political Islam, terrorism, revolution, civil war, increased migration, and the collapse of many states. This book examines the roots of this instability using a theoretically original and empirically supported historical sociological comparative analysis. Up till now interpretations of the development of the post-colonial Middle East have been dominated by two opposing theses. The first views the region as backward, unchanging and rigid, the second as undergoing excessively rapid transformation. This book offers an alternative perspective focusing on the highly uneven and unsynchronised pace of change in individual dimensions of Middle Eastern modernisation. What we are seeing is (1) rapid socio-demographic change (a sharp increase in the population and the proportion of young people, rapid urbanisation, and the expansion of the media and education), (2) slower and unstable economic change (dependency on oil exports, high unemployment), and (3) slow or regressive political change (erosion of the capacity to govern, the absence of democratisation and liberalisation). The theoretical model employed emerged from a critical reading of theories of modernisation and a concept of multiple modernities that also allows for an interrogation of the broader cultural, religious and international political context of uneven modernisation in the Middle East. This model is then tested empirically using the time series (1960–2010) of dozens of indicators covering the demographic, social, economic and political dimensions of the modernisation process.
In general the book does not concentrate on externally monitorable political actors and their rivalries, as so often is the case. Instead, it focuses on the political rivalries of deep, long-term cumulative demographic, social and economic change taking place beneath the surface. It looks at changes that are not simply taking place in individual countries of the Middle East, but since the end of the Second World War have affected the entire region and are responsible for the emergence of a Middle East completely different to that to which we were accustomed for many decades.