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Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East

Product Description

This study of politics and the role of the state in the Arab world is aimed at students of Middle East politics, political theory and political economy. Ayubi’s main objective is to place the Arab world within a theoretical framework that avoids both “orientalist” and “fundamentalist” insistence on the utter peculiarity and uniqueness of the region. He focuses on eight countries, and deals with such issues as the emergence of social classes, corporatism, economic liberalization and the relationship between state and civil society.

Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East


  1. This book is awful. His writing style is arrogant and wordy, deliberately confusing, and completely inaccessible. It’s as though he’s getting paid by the word, and the last thing he wants is for anybody to understand what he’s saying. A truly painful reading experience. Very few practical examples of the broad, Marxist claims he is making, and very irritating textual citations every second sentence that make reading it about as fun as a root canal.

    P.S. The one star above was a technical flaw in the program. If I had my way, rather than a star, I would have a giant black hole. Every time I sat down to read this giant cube book of drivel, I died a little inside. Truly the worst book I ever had to read.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This book smells terrible, and I would not buy from this vendor again. A number of other people in my class also have said the same thing as we all have the same problem. I would return it but I have to use it for assignments immediately, but it smells awful.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  3. Nazih N. Ayubi makes a good analysis of the point. He gives both the historical background and the contemporary aspects of the issue. Instead of giving useless details, he focuses on the necessary aspects. the order of the book, the language, the level of the knowledge about the geographical area, which is of the interest are all perfect. If you are studying the arab states, the middle east or similar issues, you have to read it!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Overstating the Arab State is the ironic title that Nazih Ayubi has chosen for his ‘state’ centered and Gramscian informed study of the nature of the Arab State in terms of its bureaucratic and interventionist development. The title also alludes to the overestimation of the actual power and strength of the Arab State. Ayubi has suggested that Arab states have been wrongly categorized as ‘strong’; whereas, they are weak in terms of their extractive capacity, institutional strength and ideology.
    A principal political argument of the book centers on the notion that the Arab State has not moved beyond the coercive and corporative stage to create a political system that enjoys the consensus of civil society and includes it as a basic component. This is the kind of political strength that Gramsci categorized as hegemony considering its attainment to be the defining attribute of a Strong State. Within this definition of hegemony Ayubi has also understood a state’s ability to reduce its involvement in the productive functions of the economy.
    According to Ayubi the Arab State rules on the basis of its monopoly of the coercive forces in society and violence that subjugate rather than complement society; thereby, it is better described as fierce than strong. Corporatism, or the domination of the institutions of the middle and working classes by the state in an attempt to create social and industrial harmony, has supplied the typical model of socio-political organization in the Arab world and applied to both monarchies and populist republics. Overall, an Excellent work. Ayubi died shortly after completing this book.
    Rating: 5 / 5


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