Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Beyond Sunni and ShiaThe Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Frederic Wehrey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190876050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190876050.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 March 2020

The Political Economy of Sectarianism

The Political Economy of Sectarianism

How Gulf Regimes Exploit Id En Tity Politics as a Survival Strategy

(p.181) 8 The Political Economy of Sectarianism
Beyond Sunni and Shia

Justin Gengler

Oxford University Press

Arab Gulf rulers face incentives to develop non-economic sources of legitimacy to maintain popular support while maximizing scarce resource revenues. By sowing communal distrust, highlighting threats, and emphasizing their ability to guarantee security, regimes can reinforce domestic backing and dampen pressure for reform more cheaply than by distributing welfare benefits. Survey data from four Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar) demonstrate that governments can effectively cow populations into political inaction even as the economic benefits citizens receive are dwindling. Gulf regimes establish electoral and legislative rules that institutionalize cleavages based on identity politics. Official national narratives in the Gulf are frequently exclusive, highlighting differences among citizens and privileging certain population segments over others. Gulf regimes thus have economic and political incentives to embellish or manufacture domestic and external threats, in order to heighten popular concerns over security and so lower the cost of accruing political support. Gulf rulers are often unable to manage social tensions once unleashed, and some have ended up stoking the very dissent they wished to suppress. This is a precarious strategy that carries serious risks to citizen welfare and the long-term survival of regimes.

Keywords:   Bahrain, Al Khalifa, Shiism, Citizenship, Patronage, Identity politics, Iran

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .