Transformative Occupations in the Modern Middle East


This article defines and deploys the concept of transformative occupation to argue for its value in understanding the history of state formation (and prevention) in the Middle East across the twentieth century, during and after imperial and colonial occupation. It argues that socio-political histories of these occupations can in turn refine and extend the heuristic yield of the concept of transformative occupation, for use in other cases globally. The essay also identifies a set of sub-themes that inform our use of the concept: developmental ideologies, political spaces, political temporalities, and patterns of violence and resistance—especially as they generated humanitarian practices. It concludes with a discussion of the specific case studies in play.