Ethnic Conflict and Political Mobilization in Bahrain and the Arab Gulf.

Show simple item record Gengler, Justin J. en_US 2012-01-26T20:02:47Z NO_RESTRICTION en_US 2012-01-26T20:02:47Z 2011 en_US en_US
dc.description.abstract This dissertation challenges the prevailing rentier state interpretation of political life in the countries of the Arab Gulf, a theoretical framework little changed for more than a quarter century. It does so by evaluating for the first time the fundamental claim of rentier theory to understand the individual-level drivers of political views and behavior among ordinary citizens of rent-based regimes, in particular its assumption that individuals are content to forfeit a role in political decision-making in exchange for a tax-free, natural resource-funded welfare state. By this conception, citizens’ degree of economic contentment is the key variable influencing the extent of their political interest and demands for participation; normative support for their governments; and, ultimately, the overall stability of their regimes, with other, non-material factors playing no important systematic role at the individual level. Yet this dissertation identifies and elaborates one important conditionality to the basic rentier premise that economically-satisfied Gulf Arabs make politically-satisfied Gulf Arabs: the existence of societal division along confessional (Sunni-Shi‘i) lines, a condition present in each of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Utilizing the results of over a dozen elite interviews and an original 500-household survey of political attitudes in Bahrain, along with parallel survey data from Iraq, I demonstrate that in societies in which confessional membership is politically salient, this shared identity offers a viable basis for mass political coordination in a type of state thought by its very nature to lack one. Under this condition, I show, the political opinions and actions of ordinary Gulf Arabs are not determined primarily by material considerations but by an individual’s confessionally-defined position as a member of the political in- or out-group. Moreover, I demonstrate, concerns about the national loyalty of the confessionally-defined political out-group—that is to say, about the perceived threat of Iranian-inspired Shi‘a emboldening—means that the latter community is disproportionately excluded from the rentier benefits of citizenship. In sum, in Bahrain and other Gulf societies divided along Sunni-Shi‘i lines, neither is the rentier state willing to offer its presumed material wealth-for-political silence bargain to all citizens, nor are all citizens willing to accept it. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Bahrain en_US
dc.subject Middle East Politics en_US
dc.subject Ethnic Conflict en_US
dc.subject Islam en_US
dc.subject Sunni Shia en_US
dc.subject Rentier State en_US
dc.title Ethnic Conflict and Political Mobilization in Bahrain and the Arab Gulf. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename Ph.D. en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Political Science en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Tessler, Mark A. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Cole, Juan R. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Inglehart, Ronald F. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Knysh, Alexander D. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Morrow, James D. en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Political Science en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Social Sciences en_US
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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