Urban Politics in the Middle East

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

The module introduces postgraduate students in the Department of Politics to the urban politics of the Middle East.

It aims to provide them with an interdisciplinary grounding in the study of a wide range of urban issues that have implications for understanding political life in the region. It will introduce and familiarise the students with scholarship and approaches to the study of urbanism in the Global South. Students will engage with questions on how political actors are constituted and forms of action take shape in urban contexts. They will also examine the relations of power and contestation at play in the production, representation and appropriation of urban space.

The module topics cover issues central to the politics of the region such as urban informality, spatial politics, urban governance and violence.

Urban Politics in the Middle East will be given priority to students on the MSc Middle East Politics programme. It is capped at 18 students although two more may be considered on a case by case basis.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The module aims to introduce the students on the MSc in the Middle East to a set of theoretical and empirical questions on urban politics in the Middle East.

  1. Gain familiarity with various disciplinary approaches to the study of urban politics
  2. Acquire knowledge of debates and scholarship on urban politics in the Middle East.
  3. Engage with questions on the urban and spatial contexts of political action and contestation in the Middle East.
  4. Develop analytical skills for the study of the sociality and politics of urban space.


Two-hour seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. The City in Social and Political Enquiry
  2. Is there a "Middle Eastern City"?
  3. Urbanisation and Modernity
  4. Urban Informality
  5. The Urban Everyday
  6. Space and the Politics of Resistance
  7. Spaces of Neo-Liberalism
  8. Urban Governance
  9. The City as Battlespace
  10. Insurgent Cities

Method of assessment

  • One 2 hour exam paper worth 50% of the total module mark.
  • One 2500 word assignment worth 50% of the total module mark.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules