State- and nation-building processes in the Middle East. What role for diversity in contemporary Iraq?

Paolo Maria Leo Cesare Maggiolini*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


The process of establishing the institutional scope that ethno-linguistic, cultural or religious differences have in the state and society has historically represented one of the most important dynamics in both politics and culture, implicitly influencing the dialectical relationship between self and other as well as between seeming and being. This relational dynamic makes identities, solidarities and conflicts continuously develop and transform. It also contributes to defining the paths, spheres and limits for associating and dividing as well as integrating or excluding people and communities dwelling within the same territory, polity and society. First, the paper aims to reconsider the role of diversity in the contemporary Middle East through the lens of the state- and nation- building process. Secondly, it focuses on the Iraqi Christians' historical vicissitudes and their relationship with Iraqi state power, briefly focusing on the monarchical period and the Saddam era. Finally, the analysis concentrates on the advent of the Organiza- tion of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Tanzim al-Dawla al-Is- lamiyya fi ‘Iraq wa al-Sham-Da‘ish) in 2014 and its fierce use of violence towards Iraqi minorities, especially the Yezidis and Christians. Without ignoring the differences between the former two experiences and the exceptional cruelty of Da‘ish and thus avoiding proposing simplistic and improbable parallels, the analysis will show a subtle analogy in their ways of exploiting diversity for political purposes, assaulting, fragmenting and recomposing “diversity” according to a specific idea of the state and “nation” considered functional to their respective rules and forms of socio-political control. In this way, the paper will show how the antibodies for avoiding the exploitation of diversity do not lie just in the realm of security, or even in that of religion or today's de-radicalization paradigm, but in the way of politic- ally and institutionally interpreting the role of the state and the content of citizenship both in the West today's Middle Eastern societies.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteReligious Violence, Political Ends. Nationalism, Citizenship and Radicalizations in the Middle East and Europe
Numero di pagine32
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • Iraq
  • Politics and Religion
  • state building


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