Investigating tribalism and civil society in Qatar

Authored by: Ali A. Hadi Alshawi

Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138047631
eBook ISBN: 9781315170688
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses challenges related to researching civil society in a tribal setting. To illustrate, I draw on my own research in Qatar. First, as background, I provide an overview of English and Arabic academic work on tribalism in Arab and specifically Gulf civil societies. Second, I recount experiences from my own fieldwork where I have investigated local understandings of civil society in Qatar. By way of conclusion, I present some pedagogical tips from my own learning as a researcher in the field. I stress the necessity of nuanced and interpretive research practice that is attuned to the local context in a dynamic and transitional environment.

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