On the Limits of Rentier State Theory: An epistemological Insight

  •  Elmekdad Shehab    


For decades, The rentier state theory has provided the most popular explanations for the sociopolitical dynamics in the Arab Gulf states, however, due to the rapid transformations in the Gulf societies in recent years, the theory went under severe critiques especially after its failure to predict the emergence of a new Gulf social contract after the oil crisis of 2014. This essay has tried to shed the light on one of the missing dimensions of these critiques by arguing that this failure might have occurred because the rentier state theory adhered to an obsolete epistemological paradigm of modernity that was incapable of dealing with such a complex social phenomenon from the beginning. Also, seeking epistemic healing, the essay highlighted the most recent shift in the philosophy of science toward a complexity paradigm and referred to its potentials to exceed the limits of the rentier paradigm.

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