GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Ideational Sources of the Peaceful Order in the Gulf Cooperation Council
Paper Proposal Text :
Studying how societal level factors, such as narratives, shape decision making in the Middle East is important to allow us a deeper and more realistic understanding of the processes of politics. Moreover, such factors are significant to think about in the context of theoretical discussions on the region given how the discipline of International Relations (IR), as well as political science, are inclined to analyze Middle East politics via 'realist' and 'rationalist' lenses of governments and leaders while not recognizing the input and influences on these decision making entities from their societies and their societies’ ideas. Societal-level factors are very infrequently accounted for in the study of the international relations of the Middle East in general; this paper seeks to address such shortcoming in scholarship.

With empirics from the Gulf, the paper engages mainstream understandings of regional orders in IR to argue how societal narratives can explain underlying sources of peace, and can act as potential drivers on which to build and maintain functioning regional security architectures. The common understanding of peace is that it emerges out of rational contracts between independent entities (regional states), to maximize everyone’s benefits and institutionalize processes of conflict resolution. My paper sheds in-depth light on the Gulf to study how peace derives not from the formalities of treaties that lay down the laws of what peace should be like, but from narratives. Societal narratives are coherent constellations of ideas that which are not formally institutionalized or bureaucratized but which act at the decision making level by defining the range of acceptable policy options (without being causal).