This essay examines the evolving symbiosis of authoritarian state power and neoliberal governance in the Middle East in the wake of the 2007–8 economic crisis and popular uprisings in 2011–13. I revisit the debates on “authoritarian resilience” in the region to highlight that the efforts to push through neoliberal reforms in the face of popular opposition have expanded the scope of authoritarian rule. However, the strengthening of the executive power further creates antagonisms which are bound to result in the weakening of the state’s institutional capacity and legitimacy to enforce those reforms. These considerations highlight the fissures of “authoritarian resilience” in the region and signal that state centralization and the strengthening of executive power could produce avenues for contesting both neoliberalism and authoritarianism.
Neoliberalism and the Antagonisms of Authoritarian Resilience in the Middle East
Cemal Burak Tansel is a lecturer in international politics in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. His research focuses on the historical sociology of state formation and capitalist development in the Middle East and the political economy of development. He is the editor of States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order (2017) and has published research articles in the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, and South Euro-pean Society and Politics.
Cemal Burak Tansel; Neoliberalism and the Antagonisms of Authoritarian Resilience in the Middle East. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2019; 118 (2): 287–305. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-7381146
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