The events of the Arab Uprisings posed an existential challenge to sovereign power across the Middle East. Whilst some regimes were able to withstand these challenges through recourse to coercive strategies, others were toppled. This book questions why some regimes fell whilst others were able to survive. It argues that this was a direct consequence of state building processes and the cultivation of particular relationships between rulers and ruled. One of the consequences of such efforts is the transformation of regional politics along increasingly 'sectarianized' lines to devastating effect. This book offers a timely and unique approach to linking the events of the Arab Uprisings and on-going conflict across the region through exploring the marginalization and manipulation of identities across the Middle East.
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
'A theoretically-informed and empirically-rich exploration of the impacts of the contestation of sovereign power on states, societies, identities and the regulation of time and space. A creative intellectual tour de force, one rarely encountered in studies of the contemporary Middle East'
Bassel Salloukh, Lebanese American University
'Situated at the nexus between political theory and Middle East Studies, Houses Built on Sand investigates the claims and mechanisms through which life is regulated in the Middle East. The theme of sovereignty and its relationship to political power is the anchor for this rigorously researched book that breaks new intellectual ground. An important and timely contribution, especially for those interested in a philosophical understanding of the turbulence and protest that continues to rock the Arab-Islamic world.'
Nader Hashemi, University of Denver, USA
'The politics of sectarian difference in the Middle East have been cast in many ways, but never with such rigor and heart as Houses Built on Sand. By examining sovereign power and its fragmentation, Mabon has constructed a comparative framework that is elastic enough to contain the myriad of local and national experiences with sectarian 'othering.' At the same time, the book connects developments across the region using cutting edge political theory to explain recent and devastating contestations between rulers and ruled, including the notion of the abandonment of the ruled by the rulers through such mechanisms as the formation of internal enemies along sect-differences. Meanwhile, displaced individuals find meaning and purpose in transnational communal networks, ramping up the potential for instability and violence, as well as rebirth and change. In this dynamic and important work, Mabon uncovers the role of agency in the forms and behavior taken by sovereign power. He shows us sovereignty's fundamental fragility in the wake of mass-mobilized frustration, and he helps us to reimagine a normative space in the Middle East where people's safety and security might someday come before grandiose political projects.'
Staci Strobl, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, USA
'At a moment in which political orders in the Middle East are under exceptional strain Mabon explores the effects of fragmented sovereignties on the political trajectories of states, societies, and communities in the Middle East. His account of the many ways in which competing claims to sovereignty, legitimacy, and authenticity manifest themselves across multiple political and social registers, often at great human cost, is eloquent, theoretically rich, and marvelously ambitious. Sweeping in its historical and geographic scope, Mabon's work is acute and urgent in calling our attention to the conditions that sustain violence, exclusion, and conflict in today's Arab world.'
Professor Steven Heydemann, Smith College, USA -- .