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  • Publication
    Horizontal Inequalities in the 2011 Bahrain Uprising
    (University College Dublin. School of Politics and International Relations, 2020)
    This thesis examines the role that horizontal inequalities, which are defined as inequalities in economic, social, or political dimensions or cultural status between culturally defined groups, had on the 2011 Uprising in Bahrain. This project seeks to build on previous literature which has assessed the role of ethnic identity in conflict and, in particular, the impact that horizontal inequalities within states has on such conflict. Using this uprising as a single-case study, this project examined the state of horizontal inequalities in Bahrain prior to 2011 and how those inequalities were reflected in the discourse and rhetoric of the parties involved in the uprising. This was done through an analysis of statements, interviews, surveys, and other documents made by figures in the protests, key leaders in both Sunni and Shi'a political societies, and from the government and monarchy itself. In analyzing this discourse, it was found that inequalities surrounding the issues of the distribution of political power and political naturalization were important factors in the rhetoric of the protestors and opposition parties. On the government side, Sunni fears of a Shi'a takeover were played up by the government to mobilize the Sunni population to keep the horizontal inequalities in place. On both sides, the rhetoric around horizontal inequalities played a role in the mass mobilization of these groups into the streets and, in some cases, into violent action.
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