Call for Contributions: WOCMES 2014 Panel

Call for contributions to a panel on shared resources and regional interdependence in the MENA region: factors of conflict and cooperation

The panel, to be held at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies 2014, is sponsored by the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO).

Panel proposers:
Filippo Dionigi (London School of Economics),
Giorgio Musso (University of Genova),

The panel aims at analyzing the influence of shared natural resources on dynamics of interstate conflict and cooperation in the MENA region. The research question that this panel seeks to address is which conditions determine whether shared natural resources become factors of conflict or cooperation.

Natural resources as water or hydrocarbons are often trans-boundary in character and hence can be exploited by two or more states. As a consequence they may create situations of interdependence, in which the behavior of one actor can impact over the other stakeholders thus requiring cooperation or provoking conflict.

As we know from the extensive IR literature on interdependence, this is a complex phenomenon entailing a wide array of factors which this panel intends to explore in further detail. Complex interdependence theory challenges both classical realist and liberal theories, which interpret interdependence respectively as a cause of war and peace. When interdependence is determined by shared natural resources, it does not follow from subjective political decisions but results from objective geopolitical conditions. Such a particular form of interdependence is neither desirable nor something that can be avoided in an interstate relationship, but it needs to be politically managed. One of the key focus of the panel will be the analysis of institutional mechanisms created for the management of shared natural resources – at the local, regional and international level.

The panel welcomes proposals for single or multiple case-study analyses focusing on the greater MENA region, including adjacent geopolitical regions such as the Sahel and the Caucasus. Although the panel adopts IR theory as its main theoretical framework, contributions analyzing the subject of natural resources and regional interdependences from the perspective of political science, history, geography and other relevant field of studies will be considered.

Interested researchers should send to both panel proposers an abstract of no more than 250 words, including a provisional title for their paper, before January 29. Please consider that WOCMES accepts panel and paper submissions only before January 31, hence the deadline set by this panel proposal cannot be extended.

The panel proposers engage themselves to make every possible effort to provide contributors with a publication opportunity for their papers after the conference, either in the form of an edited book or a dedicated journal issue.

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