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Monarchy, migration and hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula

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Migrants make up a greater proportion of the workforce in the Arabian peninsula than perhaps in any other region of the world. Migration politics, however, has been either understudied – in comparative politics and conventional economics – or treated by authors influenced by modernization theory and Marxism alike in a deterministic manner. Using Antonio Gramsci’s concepts of hegemony, historic bloc and alternative hegemony, this paper aims to analyse the significance of migration for the changing fate of monarchy in the region since 1945. On the basis of primary and secondary sources in Arabic and English I argue that migration has played two different roles in the region. In the 1950s and 1960s, it formed a part of an oppositional bloc challenging monarchy. From the 1970s to the 2000s, however, the oppositional bloc dissolved and migration became an adjunct rather than a challenge to the ruling order.

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