Politics and Society in the Qaboos State

Part of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
July 2009 9781850659334 256pp
November 2017 9781849044851 256pp
EU Customers


When Sultan Qaboos overthrew his father as ruler of the Persian Gulf state of Oman in 1970, with the help of British advisers, few expected him to survive long. He was unknown to his own population, and the country was poor and plagued by civil wars. Yet he has built his regime’s legitimacy on a policy of national unification, the assimilation of all of Oman to the oil rentier state framework, and of his state to the person of the sultan, the incarnation of the country’s ‘renaissance’. This book seeks to understand the mechanisms of social and political perpetuation of authoritarianism in post-colonial states such as Oman. It shows how one monarchical power has built and constantly renewed its basis to meet the internal and external challenges threatening its stability. Yet this book also raises the question of what happens when one part of this model, namely an oil-rent economy, falters, with half the population under fifteen years of age and when the privileges enjoyed till recently may no longer be tenable. Valeri also sheds light on the strategies adopted and challenges faced by other Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf, Morocco and Jordan.


‘Without question the best book available on the contemporary politics of Oman. It is based on extensive local research, ties in fully to the other relevant work on the subject, and tells a compelling story in a way that combines lucid thematic analysis with accessible language.’ — Gerd Nonneman, Professor of International Relations and Gulf Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar

‘A comprehensive survey of Oman … recommended.’ — Choice

‘An important work. It provokes a multitude of questions and thoughts about the nature of the Qaboos regime in Oman, its impact on the development of the Omani state since 1970, and a glimpse of the legacy that the Qaboos will leave his country. It makes an excellent starting point for further inquiry.’  — Asian Affairs

‘A very useful addition to the scholarly literature on Oman since 1970.’ — Middle East Journal

‘Valeri has produced a helpful study based on extensive local research and many interviews.’ — Middle East Policy


Marc Valeri is Senior Lecturer in Political Economy of the Middle East, and Director of the Centre for Gulf Studies, College Director of Postgraduate Research, University of Exeter. He is the co-editor of Business Politics in the Middle East, with Steffen Hertog and Giacomo Luciani.

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