Monographs and Volumes

This scholarly book engages Middle East politics to explore the connections between great power support, authoritarian politics, institutional development, and long-term stability. It subjects theories of autocratic regime durability to the causal gauntlet of comparative-historical case studies (Iran, Kuwait, and Jordan), and makes a singular claim: foreign powers can hurt more than they help when bailing out friendly dictatorships. Far from being innocuous helping hands, external support from geopolitical patrons like the US can leave behind destructive legacies by irreversibly undermining the social conflicts, ruling coalitions, and political institutions responsible for keeping these regimes afloat during crises. It is notable for its detailed, process-oriented case studies of political development in Iran, Kuwait, and Jordan; for its methodological combination of historical analysis and field research; and for its revision of existing theories about ruling coalitions, authoritarian institutions, and the long-term legacies of foreign aid.

Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Middle East Journal, Mediterranean Politics, Review of Middle East StudiesBustan: The Middle East Book Review, and Choice.

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The Societies of the Middle East and North Africa: Structures, Vulnerabilities, and Forces

Edited and authored by Sean Yom

Routledge, 2019 (1st edition)

The first of a groundbreaking two-volume series, this anthology explores the societies and populations of the Middle East and North Africa. It is the only English-language primer dedicated to the MENA that eschews the high politics of elites, institutions, and regimes in favor of taking social life seriously. Presenting original chapters written by the editor and joined by the world’s leading Middle East scholars, it analyzes the region’s varied countries to uncover the organizing structures, human vulnerabilities, and dynamic forces that shape everyday lives. Among the many rich thematic topics covered are economic development, civil society, gender dynamics, environmental conflict, legacies of rentierism, social and religious identity, rural life and urbanization, and the youth demographic.

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The new edition composes the second half of the aforementioned two-volume series into the states and societies of the Arab world plus Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Individually, this volume remains among the best-selling anthologies on regional politics. It expertly analyzes the governing regimes, political histories, colorful personalities, economic context, and foreign policies of the region’s nearly two dozen countries — all from the comparative perspectives of democratization, authoritarianism, and state formation. The volume encompasses deep theoretical overviews from the editor, plus country-based chapters from other renowned global scholars that engage in deep takes of each MENA country. The level of empirical detail presented, backed by theoretical propositions and rich conceptualizations, is unmatched.

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