SHAFAQNA- IQNA: The First Biennial International Conference on “Regional Order and Social Structure in the Middle East: from Theory to Practice” will be held in May in Tehran, Iran. The event has been organized by Iranian Political Science Association with the help of Iranian House for Humanities Thinkers, Tarbiat Modares University, Allamah Tabataba’i University, Kharazmi University, Iranian Peace Studies Scientific Association, Iranian Regional Studies Association, and Iranian Association of Geopolitics.
According to the official website of the event, the emergence of a pervasive wave of the Arab Spring in the first half of the previous decade can be known as the starting point for transformations in the region’s social structure in general and the four dimensions of the regional order, in particular. At the complex level of state-society, the Middle East witnessed the collapse of the previous Social Contract. The experts have emphasized the need to establish a new social contract in the modern Middle East within the same context. At the level of transnational identity, however, the Middle East has witnessed two seemingly coherent but controversial processes: On the one hand, the rise and fall of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the previous decade manifested the role of a new form of transnational Islamic identity.
On the other hand, the U.S. inability to defeat the Taliban over the last two decades prepared a fertile ground for the formation of Doha peace negotiations between the Taliban and the U.S and the implicit acceptance of this group. At the regional level, with the changes in the position of actors of the international relations in the post-uprisings Middle East, the rivalries between the protagonists (Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) has entered a new stage, so that all the actors are seeking to turn into the main power and hegemon of the Middle East. Finally, at the international level, with the increase in the influence and dominance of regional actors, the Middle East is witnessing a decrease in the roles of international actors. The reasons behind this claim are the passive roles played by the U.S. and other significant global powers in these unrests and the Middle East after those events.
Due to the amount and range of these transformations, the International Relations Committee at the Iranian Political Science Association (IPSA) plans to hold an international conference on this topic in May 2022 with the presence of renowned national, regional and international experts. The conference board comprises of Dr. Kiyomars Ashtarian (Chairman of the IPSA), Dr. Mojtaba Maghsodi (Member of the Board of Directors at the IPSA), Dr. Masoud Mosavi Shafaei (Member of the Board of Directors at the IPSA, and the Scientific Secretary of the Conference), and Dr. Mehdi Zibaei (Chairman of the International Relations Committee at the IPSA, and the Executive Secretary of the Conference).
The conference objectives can be divided into theoretical purposes and practical ones. From a theoretical perspective, the conference aims to provide acquaintance with the scientific capacities of the academic and research centers in the Middle East in the area of International Relations and to transfer the Iranian international-relations attitudes and perspectives to the neighbors. From a practical viewpoint, the conference seeks to gain more awareness of the various aspects of the contemporary Middle East order through promoting Iranian national interests in the region amid the existing unstable conditions.
Position of the Middle East in the International Relations Theory
Role of the Middle East in formulating a general theory of International Relations
Contribution of regional events in strengthening political analysis
Impacts of the academic and research centers in the region on the mainstream of the field
The absence of lack of cooperation between active scientific centers in the region, in the area of International Relations
Redefining the Relations between the Middle Eastern States and Citizens
The need to form a new social contract
The relations between the modern state and the existing governance models
The position of different social classes in the ruling political systems
The dominance of authoritarian power over infrastructural power in the societies of the region
The New Role of Transnational Islamic Identity in the Middle East
The roles of Islamic identity and national identity
Establishment of Islamic states’ power bloc in regional relations
Changing attitudes and the treatments with the Taliban (or other Islamic currents)
Intensification of sectarianism in the light of regional developments
The Middle East as an Arena for Role Playing of Regional Actors
The movement of power in international relations across the region
Intense rivalries between superpowers to obtain hegemony
Reasons for the lack of a comprehensive convergence and cooperation among the actors
Actors’ security concerns in the wake of the wave of unrests
Role and Status of Transregional Actors in the Middle East
Dependence of some regional actors on external powers
The need for multilateralism in the roles played by external powers
Reasons for the decline in the U.S. role in relations of the region
Resistance Front and the international actors’ antagonistic stance towards it
Political Economy of the Middle East in the light of international pressures
Economy’s role in the regional actors’ political dependence on the international environment
Impact of the Covid19 pandemic on the actors’ political economy
The U.S.-China confrontation in the international political economy of the Middle East
Global economic pressures as tools for imposing patterns of political order
Keynote Speakers of the conference are Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS University of London, Stephan Stetter, the Bundeswehr University of Munich, and Einar Wigen, University of Oslo.
February 14, 2022, has been set as the deadline for submitting abstracts while papers can be submitted by April 9. The Conference will be held on May 10 and 11.