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Title: Methods of repression in Bahrain during the 20th and 21st century : from the civil list to social media
Author: Jones, Marc Owen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 8531
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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Despite being afflicted by cyclical bouts of unrest over the past century, repression in Bahrain as a concept has not been the focus of considerable academic attention. This is the first interpretive historical and contemporary study of repression in Bahrain. It addresses the limitations of regime-type analysis and quantitative studies of repression, which tend to focus on the co-variation between repression and demobilization. Using a template analysis, a virtual ethnography and framing theory, this thesis offers a new conceptualisation of repression. Several episodes of contention in Bahrain are analysed, including; tribal resistance to the British reforms of the 1920s, the rise of the Higher Executive Committee in the 1950s, the leftist agitation of the 1970s, the 1990s Intifada, and the 2001 Uprising. Using evidence from multiple sources, including recently released Foreign and Commonwealth Office files, social media, and historical records, this thesis argues that Bahrain's protecting powers have had a marked impact on the severity, nature and type of repression in Bahrain, as well as the structure of the repressive apparatus. While the British mitigated the excesses of Al Khalifa's treatment of political opposition, their declining influence following Independence saw the rise of a Saudi-Al Khalifa dual authority structure that created a new approach to repressive choices. Crucially, Bahrain's protecting powers influenced the nature and type of repression that was applied to political opposition. Yet despite this meta-narrative of outside influence, this research complicates generalisable theories of repression, showing that repressive choices are often contingent on a complex mix of the availability of resources, elite attitudes, strategic objectives of power holders, and the nature of threat. For this reason, the research sheds light on repression in Bahrain, but also highlights the value of conducting case studies and long term studies that allow researchers to compare and contrast the reasons motivating repressive choices. The new conceptualisation also emphasises the rising importance of social media and rhizomatic actors as tools of repression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available