International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)

International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)
Call for Papers | Fully Refereed | Open Access | Double Blind Peer Reviewed

ISSN: 2319-7064

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Research Paper | Cultural and Literary Studies | Morocco | Volume 12 Issue 6, June 2023

Identity Politics and the Predicament of the Arab Nation - State

Mohammed Agzar

Abstract: This study brings into comparative perspective the major takes on the question of identity in the Arab world. It suggests that whilst in Western societies the discussion around identity has centered on questions of racism and the status of minority groups, usually in societies with solid nation - states and democratic traditions, the most influential scholarly contributions in the Arab world have centered on identity with regard to the question of political instability and the nation - state as a vulnerable entity and an unfulfilled project. Apart from a few marginal critical voices that endorse ethnic identity and differentiation, described here as essentialist and in many ways emulative of postmodern identity politics, major scholars view the tendency to reify, endorse, valorize, and politicize ethnic and cultural identity as an obstacle in the process of building genuine nation - states and perpetuate the Arab condition of social traditionalism and historical backwardness. This study ultimately suggests that any attempt to theorize and conceptualize identity should take into account the historical peculiarities of the context in question. More specifically, emphasizing an essentialist view of identity in the Arab world perniciously complicates existing issues of political rule and only deepens the impasse of an unfulfilled Arab nation - state. This study ultimately attempts to add up to a nascent body of literature that seeks to highlight the dangers of essentialism and the pernicious effects of category thinking, namely in historically backward contexts where the luxury of playing the identity card or identity politics cannot be afforded.

Keywords: Identity, identity politics, essentialism, nation - state, Arabs, Islam, modernity, ethnicity, sectarianism, orientalism folklorization

Edition: Volume 12 Issue 6, June 2023,

Pages: 1048 - 1054

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