The Middle East in Transition
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The Middle East in Transition

The Centrality of Citizenship

Edited by Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer

The violent transitions that have dominated developments since the Arab Uprisings demonstrate deep-seated divisions in the conceptions of state authority and citizen rights and responsibilities. Analysing the Middle East through the lens of the ‘citizenship approach’, this book argues that the current diversity of crisis in the region can be ascribed primarily to the crisis in the relations between state and citizen. The volume includes theoretical discussions and case studies, and covers both Arab and non-Arab countries.
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Chapter 3: Bringing about the non-citizen in Iraq: a genealogical approach

Mariwan Kanie


The main argument of this chapter is that both the state and society of Iraq have failed to create a common notion of Iraqi citizenship as a framework of moral and political identification. This structural failure is the result of specific technologies of rule and governmental techniques based on social, cultural and political discrimination, the denial of the politics of rights, the perseverance of systems of patronage and clientelism, the excessive use of violence, the unbalanced distribution of resources, uneven representation of Iraqi’s diverse population, and the near-absence of the language and discourse of citizenship, except in rare instances and among small groups of intellectuals. These technologies of rule were linked to various grand political dreams, such as pan-Arabism, Communism, one-party and one-man rule, mixed with more traditional forms such as clientelism.

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