State and Transformation in the Middle East

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

Using a comparative approach and regional focus this module examines the key theoretical concepts and issues surrounding state formation and state building in the Middle East. It will introduce students to the main theoretical debates relevant to the understanding of the state as a distinctive organisation of power. Topics to be discussed include: regime types and the durability of authoritarianism, state and regime structures, military regimes and militarism, leading to contemporary debates about the state in the Middle East post Arab uprisings.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the broader theoretical approaches to the study of the state in the Middle East.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the internal politics, forms of governance, and contestation in the majority of Middle Eastern states.
  • Critically analyse a range of theoretical positions and develop reading and writing skills to carry out empirical research to assess, support or qualify arguments.


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 60%
Unseen written examination 40%

Suggested reading

  • Ayubi, Nazih N. Over-stating the Arab state: Politics and society in the Middle East. Bloomsbury Publishing, 1996.
  • Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A history of the modern Middle East. Hachette UK, 2016.
  • Guazzone, Laura. The Arab state and neo-liberal globalization: The restructuring of state power in the Middle East. Garnet Publishing Ltd, 2009.
  • Owen, Roger. State Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East. Routledge, 2002.
  • Posusney, Marsha Pripstein, and Michele Penner Angrist. "Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Regimes and Resistance (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner)." (2005).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules