call for papers #5


Editors: Andrea Fischer-Tahir, Dimitris Soudias

Publication date: Fall 2015

The peer-reviewed online journal “Middle East – Topics & Arguments” (META) is calling for submissions for its next issue, which will be entitled Periphery.

In the debate on the recent upheavals in the MENA region, researchers have addressed the significance of urban-rural disparities and inner-urban spatial differentiation for popular mobilization and political change. Making use of binaries such as center/periphery or centralization/de-centralization, these approaches echo debates on dependency and world-system theories as pursued especially during the 1970s and 1980s. ‘Periphery’ has often been equated with unevenness in socioeconomic development and with social and political injustice. Therefore much attention to ‘peripheral’ locations has been paid to such issues as governance and its relation to political mobilization. Such an approach certainly allows for discussing broader causalities. Yet far too often power structures are conceived as a top-down relationship and contentious politics are conceptualized bottom-up in terms of organization, agenda, political goal, etc. The former usually ascribes agency only to those ‘in power’, whereas in the latter the level of everyday-life practices of adaptation, rejection and resistance tend to be neglected.

The issue turns the focus to spatial differentiation and processes of social and political change in the MENA Region. We start from the assumption that a ‘periphery’ is neither a given nor a static entity to be localized on the ‘natural’ margins of certain regional, national or global units. Instead, we assume that ‘peripheries’ emerge through complex processes of change in demography, economic relations, political decision-making as well as socio-cultural norms and values. ‘Periphery’ refers to spatially manifested inequality of power relations and access to material and symbolic goods that constructs and perpetuates the precedence of ‘centers’ over areas that are marginalized. ‘Peripheries’ may be grasped, for example, through Henri Lefebvre’s spatial triad as perceived space in terms of social practice (capital investment, political decision-making, etc.), as conceived space (scientific, technocratic representations and discourses, etc.), and as lived space (lifestyle, identity, interpretation, signification, everyday practices and experience, etc.).

With these conceptual discussions in mind, we call for conceptual articles and case studies that shed light on peripheries in a MENA context from a broad array of disciplines including sociology, political science, anthropology, geography, economics, history, cultural studies and media studies. We encourage papers from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives that look at different scales of peripheries; such as global, regional, national, metropolitan centers and urban agglomerations, as well as the scale of cities and rural areas.

Articles may address, but are not limited to, such issues as spatial differentiation and popular mobilization, cultural production ‘beyond the center’, conceptual discussions on peripheries and the politics of peripherialization.

Please consult our website for further information about the journal’s concept, sections, and authors’ guidelines..

The deadline for full-paper-submissions is 31 Januar, 2015.

Proposals and manuscripts and other editorial correspondence should be sent to: