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Title: Education as an ethnic defence strategy : the case of the Iraqi disputed territories
Author: Shanks, Kelsey Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 8857
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
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The oil-rich northern districts of Iraq were long considered a reflection of the country with a diversity of ethnic and religious groups; Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds, Assyrians, and Yezidi, living together and portraying Iraq’s demographic makeup. However, the Ba’ath party’s brutal policy of Arabisation in the twentieth century created a false demographic and instigated the escalation of identity politics. Consequently, the region is currently highly contested with the disputed territories consisting of 15 districts stretching across four northern governorates and curving from the Syrian to Iranian borders. The official contest over the regions administration has resulted in a tug-of-war between Baghdad and Erbil that has frequently stalled the Iraqi political system. Subsequently, across the region, minority groups have been pulled into a clash over demographic composition as each disputed districts faces ethnically defined claims. The ethnic basis to territorial claims has amplified the discourse over linguistic presence, cultural representation and minority rights; and the insecure environment, in which sectarian based attacks are frequent, has elevated debates over territorial representation to the height of ethnic survival issues. The existing literature and research on the region focuses heavily on the governance outcomes and little has been written about the impact of heightened identity politics on the everyday lives of citizens. It is in this respect that the thesis examines the evolution of the education system post 2003. Drawing on over 50 interviews with regional education officials and community representatives, the thesis presents the impact of amplified ethno-politics on the reconstruction of education in Iraq. The research provides the first academic exploration into education in the region, exploring the significance of cultural reproduction and the link between demands for ethnically specific education, societal security and the wider political contestation over the territory.
Supervisor: Dumper, Mick Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Iraq ; Contested Territories ; Education