Counter-revolution is never about the restoration of the ancien regime alone; it also has to do with the preservation and/or reinvention of the pre-revolutionary social order, and the consolidation of the economic structures upon which that order was built. The post-2011 order in the Middle East and North Africa region proves no exception to this historical tendency: in the interregnum following the ruptures of the Arab Spring, a constellation of local and international forces coalesced in order to contest, redirect, or exhaust those pushing for transformative change. Relatively successful in their efforts, such forces have managed to revive the moribund economies which had only just delivered the region to crisis.
It is to account for these dynamics that Noria’s MENA team decided to launch the Political Economy Project, with the aim of producing original, field-based research focused upon the intersection of politics, policy, markets, and social struggle in the post-2011 period. Moving across national, international, and transnational levels of analysis, our researchers work to unwind how policymaking, capital markets, multilateral organizations, corporate actors, formal and informal labor movements, and state-business relations function to ensconce, fortify, or challenge the status quo ante.
Release of our new report – April 2021
Dollars and Decadence: Making Sense of the US-UAE Relationship
Imperative as it is that we better understand the distal and proximate drivers of persistent developmental failures, stubborn cronyism, and ever expanding inequality in the Middle East and North Africa, Noria’s Political Economy Project has developed a research agenda and multimedia dissemination strategy that aims to:
1- Collect novel forms of data regarding economic policymaking, market structures, cross-border factor movements, industrial relations, and corruption.
2- Problematize dominant narratives as concerns economic development in the Middle East and North Africa.
3- Spotlight the actors and institutions responsible for enduring developmental and social failures, as well as those communities suffering as a result.
4- Bring the blurred lines separating state from capital (and multilateral organizations) in the post-Arab Spring period into clearer focus.
5- Unravel what the region’s enduring labor market crises can tell us about the contemporary global economy.
Even before the arrival of the coronavirus, the generations which animated the Arab Spring had accrued precious few gains from the uprisings, and to this day, majorities from the Maghreb to the Levant continue to languish in either poverty, unemployment, or the deep precarity that is endemic to life in the informal sector. The frustration of their wishes for dignified work, livable wages, and democratically-managed economies has directly underpinned the enduring unsettledness of the MENA region over the past decade. Imperative as it is that we better understand the distal and proximate drivers of persistent developmental failures, stubborn cronyism, and ever expanding inequality, Noria’s Political Economy Project helps grow the knowledge that is needed to improve the welfare of the many.
Interested in joining us? Contact us here.