GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Concentric Identities in Kuwait and Bahrain and it's affect on the Arab Spring
Paper Proposal Text :
In the Arab Gulf there is a particular, yet universalizing experience of concentric and overlapping identities that shape one's outlook socially and politically. These abundant overlapping identities lead to tensions of power, where individuals, groups, and nations are pulled in multiple directions. In the Arab Gulf, individuals are pulled by tribal, family, economic, regional, sectarian, religious, cosmopolitan/world/globalized, gendered, class-based/work based, national, and cultural (whether traditional or innovative) identities. The question raised is what do these overlapping identities mean for the ever changing political reality in the Arab Gulf. Furthermore, are these concentric and overlapping identities problematic?
The methodology of research used is that of literary research: a deep reading and analysis of books and articles that discuss various histories and experiences in the Arab Gulf and predominately in Bahrain and Kuwait. In this paper, I explore how concentric circles of identity affect political and social development. These questions of identity are crucial because of the emerging uprisings in the MENA region. The argument is that concentric circles of identity (both unifying and dividing forms of identity) in Kuwait and Bahrain produce additional tensions and conflicts, thereby acting as a catalyst to escalate change. These changes may be minor or major forms of building, articulating or dismantling of the pre-existing political system.