SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

State and transformation in the Middle East

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

This module provides an analysis of the major political developments in the nature and form of the state in the contemporary Middle East. It will introduce students to the main theoretical debates relevant to the understanding of the state as a distinctive organisation of power and will examine the utility and appropriateness of these perspectives when analysing the politics of a variety of states in the Middle East. It will, therefore, examine the implications for state structures and institutions of the distinctive histories, social formations and political conflicts that shape state politics in the Middle East.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. Familiarity with the critical debates surrounding ideas of state as structure and agency in the political field
  2. Knowledge of specific aspects of politics in the Middle East and an ability to test some of the theoretical assumptions behind these debates, as well as an understanding of particular political structures, processes and countries in the region
  3. An ability critically to analyse a range of theoretical positions in political science, to formulate hypotheses based upon these understandings and to carry out empirical research to support or qualify their arguments
  4. Skills to facilitate the oral and written communication of their ideas


  • One-hour lecture per week
  • One-hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assessment is a 2 hour unseen examination worth 40% and one 2500 word essay worth 60% - all coursework is resubmissible.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules