Bitter Brethren: Freud’s Narcissism of Minor Differences and the Gulf Divide

  • Mohammed Hashem Al-Hashemi
Part of the Contemporary Gulf Studies book series (CGS)


Al-Hashemi builds on Freud’s concept of the narcissism of small differences in this chapter showing how the regimes of the Gulf have in recent years tried to foster top-down identity building as a means to attain socio-political legitimacy. While in the past, national identity in the Gulf was defined consensually in reference to wider Gulf identity, efforts to invent new senses of communal belonging are often antagonistic in character vis-à-vis neighbouring communities. As the first crisis in the Gulf exceeding the boundaries of a feud between royal families, the 2017 Crisis can be defined as the first truly public crisis polarizing the people of the Gulf along previously defined national narratives. Although outsiders might argue there is more between the Gulf States that unites them than divides them, the 2017 Gulf Crisis has arguably driven a wedge not just between the states but the people of the Gulf.


Gulf crisis Narcissism of minor differences Tribes Identity Nationalism Persian Gulf Gulf Cooperation Council 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Hashem Al-Hashemi
    • 1
  1. 1.Brunel UniversityLondonUK

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