Rentier Islamism: the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf monarchies

Hosted by the Middle East Centre

Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ


Dr Courtney Freer

Dr Courtney Freer

LSE Middle East Centre

Stéphane Lacroix

Stéphane Lacroix

Sciences Po Paris

Sir John Jenkins

Sir John Jenkins

Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange London


Professor Toby Dodge

Professor Toby Dodge

LSE Middle East Centre

rentier islamism-800-600

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Scholars of Middle Eastern politics have long overlooked the role played by political Islam in domestic politics of the wealthy monarchical states of the Arabian Gulf, so-called 'rentier states'. While rentier state theory assumes that citizens of such states will form opposition blocs only when their stake in rent income is threatened, this book demonstrates that ideology, rather than rent, has motivated the formation of independent Islamist movements in the wealthiest states of the region, specifically, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The book therefore argues that Brotherhood movements have managed to use the links between the social (i.e. informal personal networks) and political (i.e. government institutions) to gain influence in policymaking in such states. Using contemporary history and original empirical research, Courtney Freer updates traditional rentier state theory and argues that political Islam serves as a prominent voice and tool to promote more strictly political, and often populist or reformist, views supported by many Gulf citizens.

Courtney Freer (@courtneyfreer) is Research Officer at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her work focuses on the domestic politics of the Arab Gulf states, with a particular focus on Islamism and tribalism.

Sir John Jenkins is a British ex-diplomat, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange in London and a Board Member of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and also of the American University of Iraq at Suleimaniya. 

Stéphane Lacroix is associate professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris and a researcher at the Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI). His most recent book is Revisiting the Arab uprisings: the politics of a revolutionary moment (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2018, with Jean-Pierre Filiu).  

Toby Dodge is Kuwait Programme Director, Kuwait Professor and Professor in the International Relations Department. He also serves as Iraq Research Director for the DFID-funded Conflict Research Programme (CRP). In 2013–18, Toby was Director of the Middle East Centre.

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Image: Qatar's Abdulwahab Grand Mosque. Image Courtesy of Omar Chatriwala, Flickr.