Appel à articles : Dossier « What is new in the ‘Middle East’ ? », Insight Turkey — LIMITE : 10/07/2015

The recurring international interventions, upheavals and transformations in the Middle East have upended the region’s order with grave humanitarian, socio-political and military consequences. The exodus of millions of civilians fleeing the Syrian War into neighboring countries has already begun to change the very social fabric of the Middle East. Preexisting political and humanitarian problems have only been exacerbated by the Arab Spring. These and other concerns will continue to occupy the agendas of international society, foreign and domestic policy making circles and political elites as well as social actors in the Middle East. While the Middle East is already a vague concept with no clear territorial, political or cultural borders, we have seen the evolution of even a vaguer concept of the ‘New Middle East’. Many scholars and pundits use the latter in geographical terms to refer to a broader region which includes not only Israel and Palestine, but Turkey and Iran as well. However, most analyses are still confined to the classical geopolitics of the state and military. The aforementioned transformations have not only challenged the regional and global political decision-makers but the existing scholarship to develop approaches that can understand and explain the recent developments. There is a need for alternative approaches that put the analytical and theoretical foci on such pressing issues as the emergence of violent non-state actors, proxy wars, new terrorist states, energy security and socio-economic repercussions of sectarian radicalization and migrant outflows.

There continue to be dramatic changes taking place in the Middle East following the Arab Spring, such as the deepening of the Sunni-Shi’i divide which has manifested itself in the spread of sectarian conflict from Iraq and Syria, to Yemen and now Saudi Arabia. In the socio-economic sphere as well, the youth bulge and its demands for its proper share of economic dividends and natural resources with soaring unemployment rates continues to drive the rise of radical groups and contribute to the emergence of a new wave of warring social groups who have been unsatisfied with the current state of affairs yet are unable to change their immediate situations. The alarming result is four failed states: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, where non-state actors are stepping in the roles of power in these states, struggling in vain to fulfill the needs of a social contract long neglected by the state and acting increasingly more like states.

Insight Turkey invites articles and commentaries for its Fall 2015 issue that will discuss what is new in the New Middle East and how to address the enduring challenges in the region. There is a dearth of studies on the new social forces and emergent structures of political, religious and military formations in the region. The macro-transformations in the Middle East necessitate scholarly as well as public discussions so to better understand the basic contours of the changes and continuities in the Middle East. Insight Turkey invites individual paper contributions that examine the new political and economic landscape of the region.

Potential questions and research areas include :

  • What is new in the New Middle East, i.e. how do people perceive it, where does it manifest itself?
  • How can the shifting inter and intra-state relations be defined and analyzed in the post-Arab Spring era?
  • Who are the rising non-state actors in the Middle East and how have their relations with Middle Eastern states and societies changed?
  • What are the old and new dynamics of radicalization in the Middle East and how to stem it?
  • What are the sources of increasing sectarian divide and how to understand their impacts?
  • What is the future of democratization in the Middle East? How does the promotion of liberal democracy fit into the reality of the region?
  • What are the implications of nuclear armament in Middle East and what role do they play for the future of Middle East?
  • What are the implications of the collapse of national-state armies and of security sector reform in the Middle East?
  • What is the role of transitional governments in state society relations?
  • In what ways has the security dilemma evolved and affected Middle Eastern politics?
  • How is the remaking of borders in Middle East achieved?
  • What type of new regional orders can be suitable for the New Middle East and how can it be analyzed?

Potential contributors should submit an initial abstract and paper outline to no later than July 10. Contributors will be contacted shortly after. Submission of the full paper is requested by September 1. Articles will undergo a peer-review process before publication.

Articles should be 6,000-7,000 word essays that present findings of research or analysis or 2,500-3,500 word commentaries. Please see contributor instructions on the journal webpages for further information.

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