Monographs and Volumes

The Political Science of the Middle East: Theory and Research since the Arab Uprisings

Edited by Marc Lynch, Jillian Schwedler, and Sean Yom

Oxford University Press, 2022

The Arab Uprisings of 2011-12 catalyzed a new wave of rigorous, deeply informed research on the politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In The Political Science of the Middle East, Marc Lynch, Jillian Schwedler, and Sean Yom present the definitive overview of this pathbreaking turn.
This is a monumental stocktaking organized around a singular theme: new theorizing from the MENA has advanced the frontiers of comparative politics and international relations, and the close-range study of the region occupies a core place in mainstream political science. Its dozen chapters cover an
exhaustive array of topics, including authoritarianism and democracy, contentious politics, regional security, military institutions, conflict and violence, the political economy of development, Islamist movements, identity and sectarianism, public opinion, migration, and local politics. For each of
these topics, leading MENA experts and specialists highlight innovative concepts, vibrant debates, diverse methodologies, and unexpected findings. The result is an indispensable research primer, one that stands as a generational statement from a regional subfield.

Order it from

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.

Order it from

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

Edited and authored by Sean Yom

Routledge, 2021 (2nd edition)

The second edition of this high-selling anthology explores the cultures and societies of the Middle East and North Africa. Presenting original chapters written by the editor and featuring leading Middle East scholars, it takes social life seriously by interrogating the organizing structures, human vulnerabilities, and dynamic forces that shape everyday lives across a diverse, ever-changing region. 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, youth politics, public surveys, and the experience of refugees. Geared to both regional specialists and introductory readers alike (and so perfect for classroom use), this book forms the first half of a two-volume series about the MENA region.

Order it from

This book 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 the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. 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 presents deep theoretical overviews from the editor, plus nearly 16 country-based chapters from other renowned global scholars that unpack the governing institutions, political structures, and foreign relations of each MENA state. The level of empirical detail presented, backed by theoretical propositions and rich conceptualizations, is unmatched.

Order it from