Main Content

Main areas of research

The research of the Department of Middle Eastern Politics at the CNMS focusses on the analysis of contemporary political, social, and economic dynamics in the region.

  • Political Islam

    Political Islam is the result of a constant transformation of its actors and of the influence of different political, economic, and cultural systems in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Therefore, the focus of this research lays on process-accompanying transformation research by the example of the most important actors of Political Islam in various Arab countries. Here, the conceptions and the logic of action of these actors are being examined with regards to domestic and regional political stabilisation and democratisation in the context of transformation. Additionally, the effects these conceptions have on processes of regional reconfiguration as well as the foreign policies of various states, for instance the German foreign policy, are subject of the research interest.
    Further information on the research of the department in the area of “Political Islam” can be found here.

  • Regional reconfigurations

    The transformation processes in the MENA region since 2010 not only led to changes on a national level, but also influence the international and regional level. During the last years, these developments have led to a shift in interstate power structures, which are reflected in changing alliance formation. The department of Middle Eastern Politics deals with the causes and effects of these processes, while also including the role of domestic factors like the stability of the regime, as well as regional and international aspects (such as axis formation, effects on other regions).

  • Socio-economic transformations

    The MENA region faces great economic and social challenges. A changing economic structure, the negotiation of new social contracts and debates about the political composition of these transformation processes will shape the regional development during the next years. The department of Middle Eastern Politics accompanies these developments with scientific analyses about different aspects of the transformation dynamics and of the role of old (e.g. unions) and new (e.g. entrepreneurs) economic and social actors.

  • Middle classes

    A historical view shows that the Arab middle classes always functioned as driving forces of social developments – as supporters of liberation movements, representatives of an Arab nationalism, or of Political Islam. They can serve as an anchor of stability for authoritarian regimes or push democratisation processes. In the current transformation processes, the middle classes, which are excluded from progress, play a crucial role, as well. Within this research focus, the department of Middle Eastern Politics is concerned with the analysis of the composition and role of various middle classes in the MENA region.

  • Maghreb

    The region of the Maghreb serves as geopolitical link between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. It is the cradle of various great empires and a place of cultural and religious hybridities. Here, interdependencies, transfers, and mobility not only shape the region within itself, but also in its relationship with Europe on the one hand, and Africa and the Middle East on the other one. Here, special attention is being paid to the characteristic dialectic between periphery and centre, between adaption and production of ideas, as well as between change and consistency. This dialectic comprises socio-political, socio-economic, as well as cultural aspects and sets these in the focus of research. The department of Middle Eastern Politics conducts this research interdisciplinarily with the Department of Arabic Studies.