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Caroline Abadeer

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Local Governance and the Authoritarian State: The Politics of Urban Planning in the Middle East

Graduate Student Research Fellowship | 2017 - 2018 Academic Year

Abadeer’s dissertation explores how developing authoritarian states in the Middle East, constrained by limited resources and finite information about their urban populations, strategically exert their power and deploy their authority in cities experiencing immense migration pressures. The project is motivated by the following questions: How do authoritarian states in the Middle East manage processes of rapid urbanization, and what policies do they implement in response to the emergence of slums in major urban areas? How do changing political and economic conditions and incentives shape the strategies they adopt vis-à-vis these spaces? Finally, what are the social, political, and economic impacts of these policy choices? Abadeer’s dissertation examines trends in urban governance in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Iraq, and assesses how and why patterns of slum interventions (eviction, upgrading, and relocation projects) vary over time and across space. Though relative to other developing world regions, the Middle East slum population is fairly small (about 5% of the region’s total), Abadeer argues that slum proliferation has come to constitute a central focus of urban policy making and local governance in these countries for political reasons rooted in each regime’s authoritarian institutional structures.


Caroline Abadeer, Department of Political Science

Caroline Abadeer

Caroline Abadeer is a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, with concentrations in comparative politics and international relations. Her research addresses issues of urban governance, the informal economy, and the political economy of development in the Middle East. Abadeer has conducted field research in Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco as a PhD student, and was also a Fulbright scholar to Morocco from 2011-2012. She received a BA in political science and global studies from the University of Minnesota in 2011.

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