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 10: Iran’s Hezbollah and citizenship politics: the surprises of religious legislation in a hybrid regime

Shirin Saeidi


This chapter moves into the ambit of citizenship and politics among pro-state Hezbollah affiliates in post-2009 Iran to make the counterintuitive argument that the legislation of religion is not necessarily a fruitless effort for the state even when it fails to uniformly produce its ideal religious citizen. The contradictions and ambiguities of hybrid regimes work in different ways to produce particular types of citizens. In the Iranian case, there exists a disconnection between how autonomy and equality of Muslim citizens are legislated in Hezbollah’s cultural institutions, how autonomy and equality are theorised by the Islamic Republic’s founding fathers, and how the Muslim citizen emerged from the post-1979 Constitution. The interaction between these three different centres of power results in unpredictable citizens in quotidian life.

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