What role do ideas play in state-building and state activity? Thisbook argues that government policies in both foreign relationsand domestic politics must always be situated within a broaderideational and societal context. Imad Mansour analyses how governments in thecontemporary Middle East have governed internally and acted externally basedon societal narratives, which bring together a variety of ideas about a society'shistory and place in the world. He argues that there is a dominant societalnarrative that acts as a primary building block of statecraft, where statecraftis understood as an ongoing set of local, regional and global state-buildingprocesses. Mansour investigates the ways in which statecraft in the Middle Easthas been guided by narratives through a close historical reading and comparativediscussion of the political activity of six states - Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey,Saudi Arabia and Iran - in the second half of the twentieth century and the earlytwenty-first century. His book demonstrates the analytical power of narrativesin understanding statecraft and explains why governments' decisions need to beunderstood in complex ways.
Imad Mansour is Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the University of Qatar. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Campus Moyen-Orient Mediterranee of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris) and holds a PhD from McGill University where he was also Faculty Lecturer. He previously studied at the American University of Beirut.