Research Proposal for Ma Thesis

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Research Proposal for MA Thesis
The impact of rentierism of resource-rich countries in the Middle East on the dynamics of the Arab Spring

The project that I intend to present and propose here will seek to apply the concept of rentierism or of a rentier state, on the social dynamics of the Arab Spring. Empirically my research will focus on the preconditions that led to the outbreak of social movements in the Middle Eastern Region. 1. Background

The latest regime change revolutions and large-scale social movements in the Middle East region require new and deeper research of the inter-relationship between increasingly rentier character of Middle Eastern states and the massive anti-government protests that have swept the region since January 2011. It brings us to the point when there is a need to challenge the conventional concepts vis-à-vis the dynamics of the latest developments. Traditional conceptualizations of a rentier state are still relevant. However, apart from conceptualization, the contextualization plays a big role in terms of placing the existing concepts within the regional context. To challenge the basic assumptions of this argument, it is worthwhile to embark on relevant research. Thus, the current research would focus on the conceptualization of a rentier state and the contextualization thereof with regard to the Arab Spring i.e. in the Middle East. 1.1. Literature Review

The mainstream literature has substantially addressed the definition of a rentier state. Hossein Mahdavy fir the first time postulated the concept of rentier state in relation to pre-revolutionary Pahlavi Iran. Thus, in his interpretation the concept of a rentier state refers to “… countries that receive on a regular basis substantial amounts of external economic rent.” We find a similar definition in Hootan Shambayati’s work as well, a rentier state is ‘… any state that receives a substantial portion of its income in the form of external rents. Large portion...
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