Old and new challenges for ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East

Authored by: Jordi Tejel

Routledge Handbook of International Relations in the Middle East

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415317283
eBook ISBN: 9781315229591
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter asks for a reassessment of the ethnic and religious minorities’ position in the Middle East, as well as a reconsideration of both old and new challenges they encounter. Because minorities are historically situated, they need to be studied from a dynamic perspective; minority groups may shift their position over time and, more importantly, they are not simply passive victims living under the iron rule of a “majority”. Minorities find more often than not a way to prove their ability to mobilize internal and external resources to meet the challenges they may face. This visibility, like in the past, presents simultaneously opportunities and challenges for Middle Eastern minorities. Finally, this chapter posits that the (re)examination of the actual role that minorities as well as individuals play in essential issues such as property, decision-making, and governance could allow IR scholars to depart from both stato-centered and security approaches while studying minority politics in the Middle East.

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