POMEPS Studies 49: Urban Politics in the Middle East

Urban politics has received growing attention in the anthropology, sociology, and political science of the MENA region.  In line with global trends, questions of scale, territory, flows and connectivities and materialities have come to the fore, with a wide range of creative and novel lines of inquiry connecting the global to the hyper-local and every scale in between.  In February 2023, POMEPS partnered with the Beirut Urban Lab at the American University of Beirut and The Policy Initiative think tank for a workshop in Beirut to bring together an interdisciplinary group of young scholars from across the region to explore questions of urban life, politics, and culture. The papers moved beyond more traditional political science topics such as municipal government, decentralization, clientelistic voting, protests, and clientelism. While those themes certainly operated in the background, the authors assembled in Beirut pushed to shift the lens towards multi-scalar ethnographic modes of inquiry, highlighting the materialities and relationalities of the hyper-local, examining sites and places which concentrate power dynamics.



Mona Harb, Marc Lynch, and Jillian Schwedler

Wānās, Henna, and the City: How Sudanese Henna Artists Navigate Greater Cairo

Gehad Abaza, University of California, Santa Barbara

The Politics and Economics of Urbicide: Why Were Syrian Cities Destroyed?

Munqeth Othman Agha, University of Trento

Reinstituting Sectarianism Through Everyday Forms of Resistance: The Case of the Informal Transportation System in Beirut

Carine Assaf, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Mastering Heritage: Reconstruction of History and Space in Post-Conflict Diyarbakır

Ronay Bakan, Johns Hopkins University

Countering “Fripisation:” Competing Forms of Order-Making in Tunis’ Second-Hand Markets

Katharina Grüneisl, University of Nottingham

Transgressive Aspirations: Regimes of Mobility and the Multiple Geographies of Mahraganat Dance Music in Egypt 

Dalia Ibraheem, Rutgers State University

Tehran’s Nightlife and Spatio-Temporal Configurations

Abbas Jong, Humboldt University of Berlin

The Food Geographies of Filipina Migrants in Beirut

Noura Nasser, Concordia University

In Search of the Black “Ghetto:” Racial and Spatial Stigma in Tunisia

Shreya Parikh, UNC Chapel-Hill & Sciences Po Paris

Women and the Algerian Hirak: Resistance and Negotiation

Seréna Nilsson Rabia, University of Bergen

The Politics of Arbaeen: Transcending Militarized Urbanism in Iraq’s Shrine Cities

Alex Shams, University of Chicago

Checkpoint as Paradox: Notes from Baghdad

Omar Sirri, SOAS University of London

Automation Zones: Expanding the Digital “Frontier” of Labor and Trade in Aqaba

Zak Tobias, Queen Mary University of London