Framing Social Capital and Transition to Democracy in KRI

  • Hewa Haji KhedirEmail author
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


This chapter attempts to bolster analytical aspect of the book by tracing the roots of social capital and civic engagement in the broader historical, political and cultural context of Kurdistan. The chapter suggests that social capital in Kurdistan is the outcome of interaction of a host of structural (chiefly state policies) and cultural (mainly societal fears and expectations) influences that defined state and society (communities, groups and individuals) relationships. In this chapter, it is argued that social capital in Kurdistan locates in the junction where four major influences join: (1) Ba’th overarching policy predicated on “security and obedience” resulted in the rising of a monster state: suspicious of its subjects and ready to use severest methods of violence against (potential) rivals. Kurdish civil war, separation of KRI in its aftermath and mutual hunting campaigns against rivals contributed to the consolidation of the legacy that had made political activism risky and a scourge for individuals and communities in the first place. (2) A second central thread is traced to economic hardships and the impacts of injustice and corruption. Injustices, perceived or real, associated with distribution of wealth in the region explains great deal the existence of a sense of pessimism and hostility between those who have larger, often illegitimate, access to state resources and those who deprived from having the same access. (3) A third thread of social capital is closely intertwined with the proliferation of clientalistic networks. Clientalism has its deep cultural roots and has been itself, a state policy. (4) Finally, the similar impacts of the growing significance of state and the traditional role of family (immediate and extended) have been studied in analyzing the diminishing arena where civic actors can/should operate.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WinchesterWinchesterUK

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