Panel 12 – Spaces for Dialogue, Spaces for Conflict. Inclusion, Exclusion and Violence in the Middle East and Middle Asia in Contemporary Age

Giovedì 19, ore 11.30-13.30   AULA C

Convenor: Gianluca Pastori

Seyed Hossein Zarhani, Heidelberg University, Germany
Citizenship, Democracy and Identity: a Comparative Study on India and Iran

Gianluca Pastori, Università Cattolica, Milano
Le relazioni pericolose. Rivendicazioni etno-nazionali ed equilibri politici nel Baluchistan della ‘Global War On Terror’


The process of defining and constructing citizenship, in its broader sense, is a key component in the process of constructing individual and collective identity. It has played a pivotal role in the mechanisms of state- and nation-building, especially since mid-XX century, when the homogeneity that the emerging States have promoted have started to clash with the inherently plural character of the Middle East and Middle Asia. In this perspective, the Western model of ‘nation State’, that many countries have ‘imported’ when absorbing and adapting their colonial heritage, has been a factor of tension not only where it has led to open conflicts. In the region, the discrepancy between citizenship and inclusion has taken different forms in time and space. The same have done the more or less formalized mechanisms that have channeled these tensions into in more or less spontaneous forms of ‘intra-systemic’ competition.
Citizenship and its regulation are, therefore, pivotal to the understanding of the processes of integration and fragmentation into a wide range of countries, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and for reading and interpreting their political and institutional dynamics. In this region, different traditions and different experiences intertwine, which only partly (and difficultly) can be reduced to a factual and conceptual unitary framework. This is way citizenship, its meaning, and its recognition, are often elements of division, when not of open conflict. The fusion/confusion of these issues (and of the benefits that they entails) with the broader system of the regional political balances is another source of both intra- and infra-State tensions; tensions that often lead to the spillover of instability and violence from the most troublesome countries to the neighboring sectors of the international system.

Starting from these premises, the panel aims at analyzing – according to different skills, methodologies, and sensibilities – the concept of inclusion/exclusion in the Middle East and Middle Asia, and the links existing between this concept and the different political entities in the region. The panel will devote a special attention to the ‘dialogue/conflict’ dyad, to the way in which it expresses in the different contexts, and to the way in which, in these contexts, its two terms are composed. It will also aim at critically confronting the many facets of ‘belonging’, which, due to their complexity, are prone to a wide set of possible exploitations. In this perspective, the panel aims at bringing together contributions referring to the widest possible range of historical and geographic experiences, and it is open to a plurality of approaches, to provide a vision as much as possible ‘at full azimuth’ of the problems taken into account.

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