“Insecurity, Order and Pluralism in the Middle East: An Agenda for a Critical Approach to Security Studies”
Dr. Waleed Hazbun (The University of Alabama)
Contribution to edited volume (Lorenzo Kamel, ed. The Middle East: Thinking About and Beyond Security and Stability (Bern: Peter Lang, 2019), pp. 65-90)
This chapter argues that to think critically about the issue of security in the Middle East requires three main tasks. First, we need to question the dominant normative understandings of regional and global order that shape existing security studies scholarship about the Middle East. This structure of knowledge production is more appropriate for American policy analysis and formation, rather than academic scholarship, be it within the American academia or outside of it. Second, we need to recognize rival understandings of order at the global and regional level, such as those defined by international law, other major powers, or alternative political forces and ideologies in the region. Academic security studies scholarship in the Middle East should seek to recognize how different actors understand and experience insecurity, rather than measure security only in terms of a US-dominated order. Scholars based within institutions outside the United States, especially those in the Arab world, are often better positioned to relate these alternative experiences and understandings of insecurity. And third, security studies scholars should seek to collectively formulate one or more alternative conceptions of political order from which to forge new critical approaches to security studies. In my own work I advocate, in particular, for the notion of a pluralist regional order which seeks to minimize conflict and insecurity without a dominant regional hegemon.