Inside the Arab State

Mehran Kamrava

Kamrava traces the fateful odyssey of domestic Arab politics from the early 1950s, through the upheavals of the Arab Spring, to the present day.

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Inside the Arab State Hardback
June 2018£25.00

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Inside the Arab State offers a comprehensive examination of contemporary Arab politics before and after the 2011 uprisings.

Mehran Kamrava examines a broad range of political, economic, and social variables that have shaped conceptions of power, the functions and institutions of the state, the rise and evolution of social movements, the eruption of civil war in some countries and fragile polities in others, and evolving civil–military relations before and after the 2011 uprisings. Beginning with an analysis of politics, and more specifically political institutions, in the Arab world from the 1950s onwards, the book traces the challenges faced by Arab states, and the wounds they inflicted on their societies and on themselves along the way. And at the crux of the book are the 2011 uprisings, states’ responses to them, and efforts by political leaders to carve out new forms of legitimacy, as well as the reasons for the emergence and rise of the Islamic State.

Power, and an increasingly narrow conception of it in terms of submission and conformity, remains at the heart of Arab politics, popular protest and movements for change notwithstanding. The 2011 uprisings changed much in the Arab world, but even more has stayed the same.


Mehran Kamrava is Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is the author of a number of books, including, most recently, The Modern Middle East: A Political History Since the First World War; Qatar: Small State, Big Politics; and Iran’s Intellectual Revolution.

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‘An ideal primer for students and scholars seeking to grasp institutional continuity and change in the contemporary Arab world.’ — Jason Brownlee, Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin