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Challenges to Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa

The workshop aims to explore the theme of citizenship as a relationship between state and society, as a legal construct, and as a site of transfer of social and cultural memory. Some contributors engage evolving legal concepts of citizenship within constitutional frameworks, analyzing the influence of colonial and Islamic law. Others are more interested in the performance of citizenship as a process of state and nation-building, and the state's efforts to bind and define a new political community. A third line of inquiry challenges definitions of citizenship as a process of exclusion, especially of women's political participation. 

The investigations span a wide geographic coverage of the MENA region, including case studies of Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait and the UAE.  The workshop sessions will ask how a concept of citizenship emerges in MENA states, what political and cultural institutions advance and/or mitigate this concept, and how might we identify and describe regional trends in the application and contestation of citizen rights.

Invited participants will present research and receive feedback on their written work. The workshop aims to explore case study research across the region, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Participants will communicate before and after the workshop to refine their arguments and writing in an academic year of collaboration. The workshop also provides a forum for comparative empirical data on the relationship between state and citizen across diverse political systems. The expected outcome is a collection of articles addressing the workshop theme. The participants seek to publish this collection as a representation of state of the art inter-disciplinary research of and about the MENA region at a moment of critical change.

Faculty and Scholars from LSE and AUS will participate in a workshop on 'Challenges to Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa' on January 23 2014. The initiative is part of the collaboration project between the two institutions at the faculty level.