The Group IRMENA has been granted funding for its Research Project “Transnational Dynamics and Actors in the MENA Region: A historical Genealogy of Elites and Social Movements in between the local and global level”. The project will run until 2020 and it is led by Prof. Laura Feliu and Prof. Ferran Izquierdo.
This project aims to continue the analysis of the political and social processes in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) from a historical perspective but also incorporating the transnational dimension to the research lines already begun about regimes of power and popular mobilization. The analysis of the tensions in the Arab world throughout the twentieth century to the present, has allowed us to determine various factors involved:
The configuration of the regimes of power ((Izquierdo Brichs, 2012) and (Izquierdo Brichs, 2013)); its relationship to social mobilization (Feliu & Izquierdo Brichs, accepted pending of publication); and its relationship to global dynamics, which involves both global elites and transnational social mobilization.
The first two aspects have been studied and developed in R+D+i projects CSO2008-06232-C03-02 / CPOL, led by Dr. Ferran Izquierdo, and the HAR2012-34053 project, led by Dr. Laura Feliu. The third aspect, the impact of global dynamics, represents a novel axis added to the previous work, and it will be especially considered in this project.
Against this backdrop, local tensions are partly a product of global and regional frictions that may influence the accumulation processes of global and regional power, either by generating or subtracting capabilities to some actors. On these occasions, global and regional actors try to influence local actors. When this influence is exerted from the States and affects the geographical space, the geopolitics understood in the classical sense, is present again.
Primarily, the Middle East, and to a lesser extent, North Africa, are regions where power
resources are closely linked to the control of energy resources, thus the geography is crucial.
Moreover, territorial tensions in Libya and especially in Syria as a result of civil wars, added this new geopolitical factor in a region that had not solved the border problems inherited from colonialism. However, the interactions increasingly occur with the participation of non-state actors, hence the classical geopolitics can be considered as limited to the analysis.
Therefore, we will reflect about the links of geopolitics and globalization processes, and apply the resulting analytical framework to the relations between the global-regional-local levels and to the tensions occurring throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
The project will be structured in three main areas:
1) transnational relations;
2) power regimens and
3) social mobilization.
We want to link these three axes, taking into account the historical dimension and its relationship to the present.
IRMENA is an interdisciplinary team which includes specialists in History, Geography, International Relations, Political Science, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Sociology and Anthropology. + Info
KEY WORDS: Transnational actors; Globalization; Geopolitics; MENA; Sociology of power;
social movements; global elites; power regimes.