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War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East

War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East

EDITED BY Steven Heydemann
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 379
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  • Book Info
    War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East
    Book Description:

    Few areas of the world have been as profoundly shaped by war as the Middle East in the twentieth century. Despite the prominence of war-making in this region, there has been surprisingly little research investigating the effects of war as a social and political process in the Middle East. To fill this gap,War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle Eastbrings together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars who explore the role of war preparation and war-making on the formation and transformation of states and societies in the contemporary Middle East. Their findings pose significant challenges to widely accepted assumptions and present new theoretical starting points for the study of war and the state in the contemporary developing world. Heydemann's collaborators include political scientists, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists from the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Their essays are both theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, covering topics such as the effects of World War II on state-market relations in Syria and Egypt, the role of war in the rise of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the political economy of Lebanese militias, and the effects of the 1967 war on state and social institutions in Israel. The volume originated as a research planning project of the Joint Committee on the Near and Middle East of the Social Science Research Council.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92522-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East
    (pp. 1-30)
    Steven Heydemann

    This volume responds to two significant and related gaps in the study of war in the Middle East, one empirical, the other theoretical. The first is a serious deficit in research on war making and war preparation as sources of state and social formation and transformation in the Middle East. With the partial exception of Israel, where the social and institutional effects of persistent conflict have received a measure of attention, the study of war in the Middle East has been shaped much more by military and diplomatic historians, theorists of international relations, and journalists than it has by their...


    • 2 Guns, Gold, and Grain: War and Food Supply in the Making of Transjordan
      (pp. 33-58)
      Tariq Tell

      In 1924, a “commentator on Middle Eastern affairs” who wrote under the pseudonym Xenophon, remarked that “of all the provinces of the vast Turkish empire left disorganized at the end of the World War, there was none so abandoned as that part of Arabia now known as Transjordania.” Transjordan had evolved from the wreckage of World War I, conjured up by Churchill and Lawrence in 1921 as part and parcel of the division of the Fertile Crescent between Britain and France. Yet if war, in a literal sense, made modern Jordan, the relationship between war making and state making along...

    • 3 The Climax and Crisis of the Colonial Welfare State in Syria and Lebanon during World War II
      (pp. 59-99)
      Elizabeth Thompson

      The first and most profound effect of World War II on Syria and Lebanon was fear—fear of famine. “In early September 1939 we were preparing for the new school year when the airwaves carried terror to our souls, pounding us all day with news reports of the Second World War,” recalled a Lebanese schoolteacher. “In the next few days, I saw acute pain rise in the breasts of the generation that had lived through the catastrophe of the First War. . . . Work stopped, and business dwindled as a wave of profound pessimism engulfed the country.”¹ The famine...

    • 4 War, Keynesianism, and Colonialism: Explaining State-Market Relations in the Postwar Middle East
      (pp. 100-146)
      Robert Vitalis and Steven Heydemann

      For much of this century, but especially in the past two decades, sociologists, economists, historians, and political scientists have found productive and stimulating common ground in exploring the effects of war on processes of state formation and economy building in Europe. Their efforts have helped clarify the connections between war making and the processes through which large-scale political and economic institutions are constructed. Yet these findings have been largely ignored by scholars interested in explaining similar processes in the postcolonial states of the developing world.¹ The reasons for this lack of interest are not hard to discern. As Charles Tilly...


    • 5 Si Vis Stabilitatem, Para Bellum: State Building, National Security, and War Preparation in Syria
      (pp. 149-173)
      Volker Perthes

      Since Hafiz al-Asad’s assumption of power in 1970, Syria has been transformed into a fairly strong security state. Political and social control have been firmly established. The extractive capacities of the state and the participation of the populace in regime-led institutions have been enhanced. Regime stability has been maintained even after the collapse of the country’s main international ally, the Soviet Union. Moreover, Syrian policy making has been marked by the virtual absence of external interference, that is, by a high measure of national autonomy.¹ Perhaps most important, the state has become a security state in the sense that its...

    • 6 Changing Boundaries and Social Crisis: Israel and the 1967 War
      (pp. 174-199)
      Joel S. Migdal

      The sudden end of the June 1967 war brought not only unrestrained rejoicing in Israel but, just as palpably, a collective sigh of relief. What Israelis had called the “waiting period,” between Egypt’s blockade of the Straits of Tiran on May 22 and the beginning of the war on June 5, had been a time of unbearable tension in the country. Israelis saw the closing of the straits as a tripwire for war and waited those fourteen days with a sense of impending doom.¹ This was a moment, as Itzhak Galnoor recounted, of “public confusion, lack of confidence in the...

    • 7 War as Leveler, War as Midwife: Palestinian Political Institutions, Nationalism, and Society since 1948
      (pp. 200-239)
      Yezid Sayigh

      That war has had a repeated and massive impact on the evolution of Palestinian politics and society since the early twentieth century can hardly be denied. The most graphic example is the conflict accompanying the end of the British mandate over Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel, which resulted in the exodus of around 55 percent of the Arab population (some 1.4 million people) and its dispossession of land and other properties and means of livelihood in the course of 1947–49.¹ What the Palestinians have referred to since then asal-nakba(the catastrophe) had far-reaching consequences....

    • 8 War in the Social Memory of Egyptian Peasants
      (pp. 240-257)
      Reem Saad

      The purpose of this chapter is to explore the ways in which Egyptian peasants remember wars.¹ Peasants, who constitute almost half the Egyptian population, have been largely excluded from both academic literature and public political discourse dominated by the urban middle class. This situation is not unique to Egypt or to peasants. Recent studies of “resistance” and “voice” reflect the concern that the dominant classes in various parts of the world have denied representation to marginal social groups such as peasants, women, and blacks. My approach is primarily motivated by my belief that it is important to explore the opinions...

    • 9 War as a Vehicle for the Rise and Demise of a State-Controlled Society: The Case of Ba‘thist Iraq
      (pp. 258-291)
      Isam al-Khafaji

      A general assumption underlies most writings on wars and societies: namely, that war is an exceptional event, one that introduces qualitatively new and disruptive elements into the routine functioning of state structures, civil society organizations, and the daily life practices of citizens. Unfortunately, this assumption has all too often been challenged by the reality of long-term conflict, notably in various parts of the developing world. And in few regions have such conflicts been more prominent, or their effects more significant, than the Middle East.¹ The distinction between war and peace becomes even more blurred when one tries to apply it...

    • 10 The Political Economy of Civil War in Lebanon
      (pp. 292-322)
      Elizabeth Picard

      In the comparative study of the political economy of war, the case of Lebanon permits endless and rich insights. Yet unlike other cases of war making discussed in this volume, Lebanon’s experience between 1975 and 1990 shifts our attention to the political economy ofcivilwar, a form of violence that implies the collapse of the state and thus breaks the causal chain that has linked war making to state consolidation in much of the literature on this topic.¹ What Lebanon’s descent into civil war reveals, however, is not the eruption of disorganized, anarchic violence as a byproduct of the...


    • 11 The Cumulative Impact of Middle Eastern Wars
      (pp. 325-334)
      Roger Owen

      Wars of one kind or another have been a regular feature of twentieth-century Middle Eastern life. They have included not only the century’s two world wars but also the briefer periods of intense fighting among Israel, the Palestinians, and their Arab neighbors; a variety of civil wars with outside participation like those in Yemen, Sudan, Oman and Lebanon; and the long, drawn-out war between Iraq and Iran during the 1980s. All this was enough, as these chapters amply demonstrate, to create a situation in which not just the wars themselves but also the cumulative effects of the memory of past...

    (pp. 335-356)
    (pp. 357-360)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 361-372)