Much of the existing literature on the region, when it comes to citizenship, has been fixed on the limitation of rights afforded to citizens in authoritarian states, and on the inherent imbalance between citizens’ access to rights versus the power of autocratic regimes that govern them. There has been less of a focus on the linkages between citizenship, class, and persistent inequality in the Middle East. In line with this, Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) launched a new research project to examine some of the central questions around issues of citizenship, identity, nationalism, class, marginalization, and inequality. Through this project, CIRS hoped to broaden and deepen academic understanding of the conception of citizenship within the context of the Middle East.
As part of a wider strategy to expand its research boundaries to areas east of the Middle East, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) launched a new research project to examine some of the central questions relating to nation-building processes as they have unfolded in Central Asia. A foundational underpinning to this research effort is an interest in examining how the Central Asian states have navigated their early dilemmas, what their path towards nation building over the past thirty years has been like, and what the consequences for particular strategies adopted for the different states have been. Among other things, through this project CIRS hoped to broaden and deepen academic understanding of how these young states launched efforts to build their unified, modern nations, in what ways they have managed to establish political and social cohesion, and how they have engaged in the processes of administrative and institutional consolidation.
Migration on a global scale is an everyday practice. The term itself is used to describe patterns of human mobility that occur internally within a state or region, as well as those taking place internationally and trans-continentally. Migration can be applied to the process of people moving as a result of their own agency, voluntarily and as a choice. It can also be used to describe the process of having to move under duress, and this includes the categories of forced migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. This project recognizes regional migration as a complex, widespread, and persistent phenomenon in the Middle East, and a topic best studied from a multidisciplinary approach. It broadens our understanding of the complex population movements that are seen in the Middle East, and includes the movements of those who may be identified in multiple different ways—migrants, migrant workers, guest workers, temporary migrants, low and highly skilled economic migrants, trafficked persons, forced migrants/forced workers, smuggled persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. Also included will be other migrants such as unaccompanied minors, environmental refugees, and stranded migrants.
This research project revisits some of the fundamental assumptions about the nature, patterns, and processes of labor migration to the GCC states. Given their own relatively small populations in tandem with their oil-derived, wealthy Gulf States have depended on migration to facilitate their rapid industrialization. The cities of the Gulf thus articulate the transnational organizational and social networks of skilled migration, spatially embedded within expatriate social spaces. Notably highly skilled migrants in certain sectors–for example, extraction, construction, banking and financial services–have enabled these states’ relatively swift integration into the global economy.
Much of the research on “Art and Cultural Production in the Gulf” tends to focus on the rapidly growing museum culture and the acquisition of foreign art as indicative of several Gulf states’ use of oil revenue. Over the past fifteen years, Khaleeji culture has been inundated by rapid demographic, economic, and social changes that continue to challenge the more traditional customs and values. At present, rapid development in the GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) has not only affected social and political institutions underpinning Gulf societies, but also artistic and cultural institutions and their undertakings. In line with this, CIRS has launched a research initiative to provide further insight into the relationships and connections between the Gulf states and the art and cultural industries that exist within these societies.
CIRS launched a multi-disciplinary research initiative in collaboration with Silatech to explore the ways in which youth manage and respond to various socio-economic and political constraints across the region. As many of the region’s youth are contending with the effects of social and economic exclusion, this project explores the ways in which youth manage and respond to various socio-economic and political constraints across the region, as well as the potentials of policy to support youth. Toward this end, attention is given to the diversity of youth and socio-economic and politics contexts across the region. Additionally, this research initiative examines the ways in which Middle Eastern youth collectively regenerate a new consciousness and forge novel methods of mobilization.
The Arab migrant communities present in the Gulf have been a neglected area and merit further scholarly discussion and focus. In line with this,CIRS launched a multi-disciplinary research initiative entitled “Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC” that explores questions related to the topic.
The Politics and the Media in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East research project explores the role of traditional and new media across the Middle East before, during, and after the events of the Arab Spring.