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Department of Development Studies

Problems of development in the Middle East and North Africa

Course Code:
15PDSH019
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1
This course aims at providing a basic knowledge of the main predicaments facing development in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA, encompassing all members of the League of Arab States, with Iran and Turkey for comparative purposes). It follows the sequence of historical development: an assessment of the key features of pre-industrial society in the area and of the impact of European imperial domination sets the scene for contrasting responses to the challenge of modernity in the 20th century. The major ideological undercurrents produced by this confrontation are examined: adaptation to vs. rejection of ‘Western’ modernity within Islam; the rise of populist nationalism and the ‘socialist’ radicalisation of ‘developmentalist’ regimes. Against the background of the ‘oil shocks’, MENA experienced economic liberalisation, with limited political liberalisation occasionally. The post-Cold War U.S. war drive turned the region into the central arena of the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’. The region’s overall anaemic long-term growth performance—except Turkey—points to massive structural problems that constitute the main factors in the Arab uprising that unfolded in 2011. The dynamics of this ongoing regional upheaval will be thoroughly examined.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this course, students should be familiar with the complexity of the MENA region and its many peculiarities and able to:

  • Investigate the historical roots of the region’s developmental problems
    Assess the relevance of cultural explanations
  • Ponder the relative weight of endogenous and exogenous hindrances to development
  • Identify and analyse  the  region’s  major political currents  and their attitudes toward  development issues
  • Evaluate the main problems facing economic growth and social modernisation in the region
  • Understand the complexities of the regional upheaval that started unfolding in 2011.

Workload

Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Method of assessment

70% examination, 30% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 3000 words, worth 30%. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.