Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar
April 16-17, 2023
Deadline to Submit: December 10, 2022
Protracted crises and intra-state conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have created a shift in governance dynamics throughout the past few decades. In the absence of the state, local, and often cross-national, non-state actors have taken active roles in leading and creating governance structures and public policies. During conflicts, the collapse of a formal authority provokes actors to transform governance from the failing state to other players. However, different segments of society are prompted to respond and fill the gap of sovereignty according to their interests and capacities. This includes armed militias, extremist radical groups, tribal leaders, private actors, and economic and industry pioneers operating at international, regional, and local levels.
Various cases in the MENA region, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, have all seen the rise and fall of militias, warlords, and rebel groups, undermining the state's monopoly on the exercise of violence, challenging sovereignty, taxing people, and exporting resources to other countries and regions.
In contexts where multi-ethnic-religious society is fragmented, and the ailing state cannot exercise authority, non-state actors often try to administrate public services at different levels. Non-governmental organizations and international donors provide humanitarian aid and, in some cases, take charge of social welfare and empower local actors' bottom-up initiatives.
At the same time, global and regional powers frequently take part in the MENA's conflicts, directly or indirectly, with varying economic, social, religious, and political interests, supporting segments of affected societies and influencing decision-making processes.
This workshop aims to explore the following critical questions, among others:
- How is the public sphere configured and reproduced in representations of the current political authorities in the MENA region in conflict and post-conflict scenarios?
- How is authority constructed, legitimacy established and secured at the local level, and tied to a world increasingly characterized by competition for global and regional power?
- To what extent are CSOs’ and NGOs' bottom-up approach capable of managing public services, and has such policy the capacity to influence the re-building of sovereignty?
- How is the absence of security and central authority exploited by non-state radical actors to take root in the territory among local communities?
- How should we understand migration trends in historical, spatial and political contexts, including their interaction with political changes in the MENA region?
- Can local actors, who increase their governance in their regions, build decentralized and more democratic structures than the previous state system? What is the impact of those new structures on the long-term democratization process in post-conflict contexts?
This workshop will discuss the abovementioned important questions and contribute to an academic scholarship that can help foster peace and sound governance in spaces without government in the Middle East and North Africa region. In the post-war era, states seek to build or rebuild their governmental apparatus while dealing with governmental and non-governmental forces with interests that may be divergent or even conflicting. Therefore, building a professional bureaucracy and better organization of social structures, as well as legal clarity of social rights are among the guarantees through which these conflicting interests can be dealt with.
Travel & Accommodations
The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies is pleased to be able to arrange and cover the costs of travel and accommodation for ten (10) scholars attending this workshop. Participants must be members of ISTR. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words (not including bibliography). Selected candidates will be notified in mid-December. Accepted authors are expected to produce a draft paper before March 27, 2023, and to read some of the papers of other accepted authors in advance of the workshop. Additional details to be provided.
Abstract submissions on December 10, 2022
Preliminary drafts paper submission March 27, 2023
Workshop: 16-17 April 2023 at the Doha institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar
For inquiries: Secretariat@istr.org