THE EFFECT OF GLOBALIZATION ON NATIONAL IDENTITY IN THE G.C.C.
THE CASE OF BAHRAIN
Rehab Iftikhar Ahmed Butt
B.Sc. (Honors), Lahore University of Management Sciences, 2004
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts Political Science
This thesis for the Masters of Political Science
Rehab Iftikhar Ahmed Butt
has been approved by
Butt, Rehab Iftikhar Ahmed (Masters, Political Science)
The Effect of Globalization on Nationalism in the Arab Middle East
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Christoph Stefes
The purpose of this thesis is to determine the effects of the phenomenon of globalization on national identity in the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Arab Middle East. Although a plethora of literature exists regarding the phenomenon of globalization and of nationalism, little focus has been placed on the relationship between the two regarding the Arab Gulf region. Taking Bahrain as a case study, this research intends on examining the relationship in a region that has been increasingly receiving media attention worldwide post 9/11, but a region that is still widely misunderstood.
This abstract accurately represents the contents of the candidates thesis. I recommend its publication.
I dedicate this thesis to Adnan Anwar for his endless support and encouragement
while I was writing this.
I would like to thank my advisor, Christoph Stefes, for his guidance and patience over the past year. I would also like to thank James Igoe and Amin Kazak for their input, and Cory Gruebele for all his help.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Figures......................................vii
List of Tables........................................ix
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.............................8
A: CONSENT FORM.................................91
LIST OF LIST OF FIGURES
2.0 Subject Age Distribution........................................34
3.0 Gender of Subjects..............................................35
4.0 Education Level of Subjects.....................................36
5.0 Bahrainis and Other Arabs.......................................37
6.1 Strong Common Bonds.............................................38
6.2 Strong Common Bonds in Percentages..............................39
7.0 Traditional Leaning.............................................40
8.0 Religious Leaning...............................................41
9.1 Definition of a Bahraini......................................42
9.2 Defining Factors in Percentages.................................43
10.1 Defining Factors of Globalization...............................44
10.2 Defining Factors of Globalization in Percentages ...............45
11.1 Impact of Globalization in Bahrain..............................46
11.2 Impact of Globalization in Bahrain in Percentages...............47
12.1 Effect of Globalization in Bahrain..............................49
12.2 Effect of Globalization in Bahrain in Percentages...............50
13.1 Positive Effects of Globalization...............................51
13.2 Positive Effects of Globalization in Percentages................52
14.1 Negative Effects of Globalization...............................53
14.2 Negative Effects of Globalization in Percentages................54
15.1 Satisfaction with Government....................................55
15.2 Satisfaction with Government in Percentages.....................56
16.0 Preferred System of Government..................................57
17.0 Has Globalization Affected Nationalism in Bahrain...............58
18.0 Globalizations Effect on Nationalism..........................59
19.1 Perceiving the Rest of the World...............................60
19.2 Perceiving the Rest of the World in Percentages................61
20.1 Subjects Sources of Information...............................62
20.2 Subjects Sources of Information in Percentages................63
21.0 Religious Leaning and Effect on Nationalism....................64
22.0 Traditional Leaning and Effect on Nationalism..................65
LIST OF TABLES
1.0 World Values Survey: Jordan....................................30
2.1 Age of Subjects........................,......................33
2.2 Median and Average Age.........................................34
3.0 Subjects Gender Distribution..................................35
4.0 Subjects Education Level......................................36
5.0 Comparison Between Bahrainis and Other Arabs...................37
6.0 Strong Common Bonds............................................38
7.0 Traditional Leaning of Subjects................................40
8.0 Religious Leaning of Subjects..................................41
9.0 Defining Factors of Bahraini.................................42
10.0 Defining Globalization.........................................44
11.0 Impact of Globalization in Bahrain.............................46
12.0 Effect of Globalization in Bahrain.............................48
13.0 Positive Effects of Globalization..............................51
14.0 Negative Effects of Globalization..............................53
15.0 Satisfaction with Government...................................55
16.0 Preferred System of Government.................................57
17.0 Whether Has Globalization Affected Nationalism in Bahrain.....58
18.0 Effect of Globalization on Nationalism in Bahrain..............59
19.0 Perceiving the Rest of the World...............................60
20.0 Subjects Sources of Information...............................62
21.0 Religious Leaning and Effect on Nationalism....................64
22.0 Traditional Leaning and Effect on Nationalism..................65
In todays world, with technological advancements emerging daily, from satellite systems to the Internet evolution, globalization is no longer a buzzword as it used to be only a decade ago, but is now a given and accepted fact. No longer is any part of the world too remote or inaccessible and phrases such as global village or small world have come into regular parlance.
An indication of the prevalence of technology and how ingrained in our culture it is, is the fact that a whole generation of youngsters is now being termed the internet generation. In our quest for quicker, faster, and more, we often fail to see the bigger picture. This technological revolution intertwined with globalization has meant changes on many different levels. Different economies as well as religions, civilizations and cultures are interacting and inter-relating. This interaction is occurring at a distance and is governed by images provided by the media.
With international trade, open markets, specialization, as well as cultural exchanges, globalization has often been viewed as a positive phenomenon that bridged gaps and closed distances. However, with several world events, the most recent and shocking of these being the World Trade Center bombing on September 11th 2001 and the London bombing on July 7th 2005, this perspective has undergone reevaluation. The question now arises of whether instead of becoming more accepting globalization is actually causing the clash of civilizations, which Samuel Huntington foretold in his article of the same name in the academic journal Foreign Affairs in 1993. With the World Trade Center bombing, the War on Terror, and the Iraq War, the Middle East has now become the focus of attention in world affairs and, even more so, for the Western common man.
The Middle East has been and continues to be a highly contested area. The British colonialists concocted the term the Middle East when they first arrived in the 1900s in order to help familiarize themselves geographically with the area. Although the Middle East is a very loose term with no definite boundaries, the countries that are considered to fall within this term are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan,
Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Middle East contains countries that are very different from each other in terms of culture, language, and even identity. The Arab Middle East, however, includes those countries that are united by language and include all but Cyprus, Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Within the Arab Middle East, a subset exists and this subset is the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.), which contains countries that are further united by culture and recent history. The G.C.C. was formed in May 1981 by the six wealthiest Arabian Gulf States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (El-Najjar, 2001). These Gulf States desired to form an entity that would distinguish them from other Arab states but at the same time they did not wish to alienate the rest of the Arab world (El-Najjar, 2001). From amongst the Arab Middle Eastern countries, the Gulf States became known as the regional flagship (Fox, Mourtada-Sabbah & Al-Mutawa, 2006, p.149) and the beating heart (Fox et al., 2006, p. 149) of globalization.
Globalization has had an impact on the world in several different ways, even though cultures may have merged and led to further understanding of each other, one perceived effect has been the decline in the national
sentiment within countries. Both the phenomenon of globalization and the region of the Arab Middle East have recently increased in importance and a plethora of literature exists regarding the phenomenon of globalization and of nationalism, a lot of which will be examined in the following chapter. However, little focus has been placed on the relationship between the phenomenon of globalization and of nationalism with regard to the Arab Middle East, in particular the G.C.C. States. This thesis will, therefore, attempt to determine the effect the phenomenon of globalization has had on the national sentiment within the G.C.C., in the Arab Middle East.
Before an analysis of this relationship can be made, the core terms and concepts need to be defined. Although national identity and nationalism are closely related, they are not identical and cannot be used interchangeably. National identity or national sentiment is that which binds people together through a common set of political aspirations, among which the most important is self-government...a sense of belonging to a nation (ONeil, 2007). Nationalism is created from national sentiment and is defined as a pride in ones people and the belief that they have their own sovereign political destiny that is separate from
those of others (ONeil, 2007). As was mentioned earlier, globalization has become a normalized part of life. The term globalization, according to Robertson (1992), refers to two processes, the first of which is the creation of greater material interdependence in the world, leading to interconnectivity, and the second is the deepening and strengthening of an awareness of the world as a whole. In addition to the economic aspect, globalization can also be defined as a set of socio-political processes that lead to local societies being opened up to foreign influences (Iqbal & Ahmed, 2003).
The case study that was used for this research was the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Arab Middle East. Field research in the form of interviews was used. This research targeted Bahraini nationals as the primary source of information. The sampling method used was that of snowball sampling, relying on referrals from initial subjects to generate additional subjects. Subjects were first contacted through telephone or e-mail. If the subjects agreed to participate, an appointment was set up in a public but quiet place, where conversations could not be overheard, at the convenience of the subjects. During the interview, the subjects were asked 25 open-ended questions allowing them to answer freely, and the answers were recorded
through hand-written notes. Each interview lasted approximately 30 minutes and the total sample size at the end of the research consisted of 27 subjects. The interviews were conducted in quiet public places. By doing so, the sincerity and accuracy of the answers were greatly increased since the factors of being in a hurry or succumbing to the pressure to answer in a certain way due to the presence of public were greatly reduced. Furthermore, by using open-ended questions the subjects were not led into their answers but were allowed to express their own opinions.
This research allowed an insight into the effects of globalization from the vantage point of the people. The answers and comments provided by the subject population allows a unique perspective into how global and international processes are viewed from the level of the masses.
Through this research I found that the importance of the Islamic religion has increased in the personal lives of subjects in Bahrain but is not the determining factor of their national sentiment. Furthermore, I discovered that subjects are troubled about the loss of their culture and traditions, and the imposition of Western values as a result of globalization but are not anti-globalization. Despite their concern over losing their customs, the
Arabs that were interviewed were aware of the benefits of globalization and realized that their countries would have to partake in the process in order to survive in the current global order. Finally, I discovered that according to the subjects, state national sentiment has declined as a result of globalization in Bahrain.
With the recent growth in interest in the Middle Eastern region, research in the area has increased manifold. While some scholars have examined the phenomenon of globalization and others have explored national identity within the Arab Middle East, literature that puts these two concepts together to determine how globalization has affected the national identity in the Gulf region within the Middle East is greatly lacking. In order to investigate the existing literature on this topic, first an analysis into the process of globalization in the Arab Gulf States will be presented, following an analysis of globalization effects on national identity in the Gulf region.
The area of the Gulf in the Middle East can boast amongst the oldest civilizations of the world, dating further back than even the Babylonian era (Zahlan, 1998). The establishment of the Arab civilization in the Middle East cannot be pinpointed to a specific time. However, according to some historians, the Arabs were former pastoralists who moved and began to inhabit oases (Morony, 1988). The Arab identity can be further
described of the late antiquity period where Arab characteristics are described as toughness, aversion to kingship, hospitality, group solidarity, shared value system, and so on (Morony, 1988). The advent of Islam in the Arab world was a turning point in the seventh century AD, which permeated every aspect of Arab culture and thrust the Arab world into international significance (Morony, 1988).
The history of the Arab Gulf countries, however, began after the First World War when the ruling Ottoman Empire was defeated and brought to an end (Roshwald, 2005). The political and social situation of the Gulf Middle East during this time was dominated by a tribal structure (Zahlan, 1998). This tribal society consisted of the Bedouins, who roamed the lands, and the settled people, who became the majority, dominating economic and political life (Zahlan, 1998).
European colonialism in the Arab Gulf region began in 1498 when the Portuguese entered the Gulf waters, and for the next four hundred years this region was subject to Portuguese, Dutch, French, and finally British rule (Zahlan, 1998). The British were the last to exert colonial rule in the Arab Gulf and in order to face the growing threat of the Ottoman Empire,
the British secured a range of treaties with the rulers of the Gulf countries including restrictions on the rulers from entering into agreements or treaties with any other foreign powers (Al-Bahama, 1985). These exclusive treaties indicated that Britain viewed the Gulf region as its personal territory and as long as these treaties were in effect, the Gulf countries were unable to wholly reap the benefits from their own natural resources (Al-Bahama, 1985). It was the European colonists who had concocted the phrase the Middle East as a practical term for their imperial strategies (Halliday, 2005) and it was also the European colonists who created the notion of the Gulf within the Arab Middle East (Roberts, 1985).
The British also secured the help of the Arab world against the Ottoman Empire with the promise of Arab independence. However this promise was broken when the European Jews settled in the land of Palestine at the end of the First World War (Halliday, 2005). Fred Halliday asserts that even though the period of European colonialism was brief, the Arab world faced disillusionment and a sense of betrayal following broken promises at the end of the First World War (Halliday, 2005). The Gulf countries,
although part of the Arab world, were on a slightly different path and the reason for this deviation was the discovery of oil.
Oil companies arrived in the Arab Gulf after the First World War in hope of concessions, and this arrival changed the power dynamics in the area. Negotiations for oil concessions gave the rulers, who had been passive so far, a more active role and also made them aware of their new advantages (Zahlan, 1998). In addition to the economic benefits and the shift in the political balance that the discovery of oil brought, another major change occurred in the Arab Gulf. Although it may not have been apparent at the time, the presence of oil led to the opening up of the Gulf region to the outside world (Zahlan, 1998) and thus instigating the process of globalization.
As the importance of oil became known, the Arab Gulf region became a hyper-globalized area. Even before achieving complete independence, the Gulf States realized the need to move forward from their traditional and limited pattern of activities such as fishing, pearl diving, and modest agriculture (Shirawi, 1985). Within a few decades the Gulf States had
created an infrastructure of communication, power generation, ports, hospitals, housing, and education networks (Shirawi, 1985).
When the Gulf States achieved complete independence from their British protectorates, they were ready to enter the world scene as capable and self-sufficient countries. The 1960s and 1970s were a period of growth, development, and liberation for the entire Gulf region due to the economic oil boom leading to mass education and mass employment (Seikaly, 2001). In 1981 the six Arab Gulf States came together to form the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) based on their common characteristics and similar systems founded on the creed of Islam (Kechichian, 2001). The Gulf States asserted that their reason for unity was due to joint characteristics stemming from their joint creed, similarity of regimes, unity of heritage... (Kechichian, 2001). The G.C.C. emphasized that the aim of the council was for cooperation in the economic, finance, trade, and social fields (El-Najjar, 2001). The catalyst for the formation of the G.C.C. was the political insecurity associated with both the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War in 1980 (El-Rayyes, 1988). However, it was the foresight of the Gulf States rulers to pool their resources and
complement each other so that when the world passed the oil era, the Gulf States would not be left behind (Shirawi, 1985).
Even before the discovery of oil in the Gulf region, the six G.C.C. states were more similar to each other in terms of their social, economic, and tribal structures than the rest of the Arab world (Melikian, 1985). Each of the Arab Gulf States lived at basic levels where the status of individuals depended on their devoutness, age and ancestry (Melikian, 1985). The discovery and increased importance of oil in the world drastically changed this standard of living and way of life. The wealth and affluence that the presence of oil brought made it possible for the Gulf Arabs to purchase luxury goods and, in fact, the West pressured the Gulf States to spend and invest (Melikian, 1985). What began as forced consumerism very soon overtook the traditional and simple standard of life that the people of the Arab Gulf States had followed.
With the opening up of the economic markets of the Arab Gulf States, came the tenants of Western thought, which were individualism and materialism. Barber, in Jihad vs. McWorld, talks about an insatiable need for goods which a person must slave for over a lifetime to begin to
be able to afford (Barber, 1995, p.40). The globalized consumer culture that Barber describes includes brand names such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Levis, Microsoft, and of course McDonalds (Barber, 1995). This consumer culture represented an unquenchable thirst for material things, a desire for more profit and wealth that goes against the Islamic way of thinking and that believes that economic gains are a means to live a more pious life, and not an end in itself (Murden, 2002). The Arab Gulf States were excited by the amenities and comforts that their newfound wealth brought and this consumer culture became a part of their newly forming their identity (Melikian, 1985).
Some Arab countries viewed economic globalization as furthering class divisions, widening socioeconomic gaps, and going against the Islamic economic theories (Monshipori, 2002). This division became apparent between the oil-rich Gulf countries and the rest of the non-oil Arab countries. While the Gulf States were encountering globalization, the rest of the Arab world was encountering Arab nationalism. The presence of oil in the Gulf States also created the phenomenon of oil nationalism, which placed emphasis on economic achievements, and this caused a conflict with Arab nationalism (El-Rayyes, 1988). This oil nationalism created a
bifurcation amongst the Arab world between the haves of oil, who were getting richer and richer, and have-nots of oil, who were getting poorer and poorer (El-Rayyes, 1988). Moreover, the oil money was not used effectively for economic development in the non-oil Arab countries (El-Rayyes, 1988), thereby generating resentment and discord amongst them. Even within the Arab Gulf States exists a digital divide which describes the disparity between the elites, who are globally connected through the latest technologies, and the masses, who do not have access to technologies and are thereby being left behind (Hudson, 2006).
Having achieved independence only some decades ago, state nationalism in the Arab Gulf States is a relatively new concept and has encountered some hurdles. One of these hurdles was the colonial structure that was in place in these countries. In an attempt to form and strengthen their nation states, the Arab countries realized that they were unable to rid themselves of the theoretical and intellectual Western model (Abu-Rabi, 2004). The colonial apparatus, such as the educational institutions and the military forces, that had been set up became absorbed into the newly forming identities of the Arab states.
Benedict Anderson defines a nation as an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign (Anderson, 1983, p.15). He states that this community is imagined because even though the members of a nation will never meet or know most of their fellow-members, they still believe and imagine this unity (Anderson, 1983).
Globalization is not a new concept and can be claimed to be as old as humanity itself (Iqbal & Ahmed, 2003). What is relatively new is the scope and scale of globalization and its effects as a result of technological advancements. This increased scale and scope is what defines the term contemporary globalization and this is said to have begun at the end of the Second World War (Iqbal & Ahmed, 2003). The trend of globalization is a complex and multi-layered phenomenon and can be characterized as the instantaneous communication and much greater human interdependence than ever before, made possible by the technological revolution which has been taking place in the last twenty years or so (Guibemau, 2001, p.244). This interdependence extends to the economic, political, institutional, technological, and socio-cultural spheres (Iqbal & Ahmed, 2003).
In terms of the effect of globalization on national identity, two separate views have emerged. One view is that because of the volume and rapidity of exchanges, whether these are economic, social, cultural, or political, globalization has eroded national sentiment within states. In this view, globalization has expanded the influence of capitalism, modernity, and colonialism, and has weakened the ties of nationalism (Levine, 2005, p.55). National identity is based on the sentiment of belonging to a nation and the belief that common bonds exist between themselves and other members of the nation (Guibemau, 2001). Globalization challenges this national identity through different means. Globalization allows the minorities within a country to promote their own cultures and language and also allows them to denounce unfair situations, thereby dispelling the image of homogeneity within a nation (Guibemau, 2001). In addition to threats from within nations, threats also exist from the outside world. New technologies prevent the state from imposing its own culture upon its population and cross-cultural exchanges lead to the dissolution of cultural homogenization and a weakening of national identity (Guibemau, 2001). Cultural nationalists have regarded the process of globalization with wariness and concern (Chittiwatanapong, 1999).
In the Arab Gulf States, the processes of economic globalization and state independence occurred almost simultaneously. However, the conflict between state national identity and globalization, as explained above, became apparent only after the 1991 Gulf War (Seikaly, 2001). The G.C.C. countries were in favor of globalization processes stimulating new political and economic initiatives, and wanted to safeguard their economic success whereas the other Arab countries were trying to resist globalization in order to maintain their Arab identity (Fox et al., 2006). Since the Arab Gulf States were in control of 42 percent of the worlds petroleum reserve and 25 percent of the worlds gas reserves (Kubursi, 1984) they had the power to begin the process of globalization on their own terms in comparison with other parts of the Arab world (Fox et al., 2006).
Depending on their own inclinations, different scholars view globalization in different ways. Some believe it is an exploitative and coercive process that continues imperialistic practices while others believe globalization has opened the door of opportunity, empowering countries in ways that were otherwise impossible. The term globalization has often been used interchangeably with Westernization, and in countries that are rich in, and
proud of, their culture and heritage, globalizations effects are viewed with apprehension. For example, attempts to curb the impact of globalization on national cultures, values, and traditions have been made by South Asian and South-east Asian countries by banning American artists concerts, banning the televising of Western movies, and launching national identity campaigns (Chittiwatanapong, 1999).
The Arab Gulf countries had embraced nascent globalization in the 1970s and had valued the material benefits that the process brought. However, as the initial oil frenzy passed, several realizations took root within the G.C.C. states. The first realization was that oil was a limited and diminishing resource. It became apparent that the oil sector would not continue the high rate of economic growth and that the G.C.C. states would need to branch out into the industrial and manufacturing sector in order to maintain such growth (Kubursi, 1984).
With the realization that the oil reserves in the oil rich G.C.C. countries would be depleted in the not-so-distant future, came the awareness that without its oil, the Gulf region was the same as the rest of the Arab world in the eyes of the West. The Gulf States also realized that they were
indeed an organic part of the Arab world and could not remain detached from and unaffected by the problems in the area (Hudson, 2006). The events of September 11th, 2001 lent further support to this belief as it became obvious that a new vision for the Middle East is being promoted in which old taboos are broken and old priorities are discarded...the long established special relationship between the U.S. and the moderate Gulf states has no relevance in this vision (Hudson, 2006, p. 149). Whether united in history, Islam, or in anger over American policies, the Gulf countries cannot remain separated from the tumult in the Arab world (Hudson, 2006).
Even within the Arab Gulf countries, globalization has wrought change and an awareness of that change. One of the main characteristics of globalization is a free market economy, which is essentially the expansion of liberal capitalism. One main problem arose with the emergence of global liberal capitalism, which was the opening of cultural borders (Murden, 2002). In addition to the consumer culture that infiltrated the Arab Gulf countries emerged a wealth of ideas, practices, and values that the Muslim Arab world was not prepared for (Murden, 2002). The emphasis on individualism, materialism, love, sex, liberation, violence,
and physical pleasures clashed with the Islamic values and belief systems of the Arab people (Murden, 2002). A Gallup poll conducted in the Middle East found that Arabs viewed the Western lifestyle as undisciplined and immoral, disapproving of the sexual and violent content of movies and music as well as the loss of respect for its own traditions and religion within the Western world (Aydinli, 2004). The Arabs and Muslims have felt assaulted by the global culture and feel that it will tear down the more traditional borders and identities erected and maintained by their religion and more recently, nation-states (Levine, 2005, p.181).
In addition to the economic and social aspect of globalization, there also exist the political aspects. The G.C.C. countries are relatively new nation states, having achieved their independence only within the past forty years. Due to this fact, difficulties and impediments in political development have occurred.
One such obstacle in political development has been the presence of different ethnicities and minorities within the Arab Gulf States. As mentioned above, Anderson defines a nation as an imagined community (Anderson, 1983, p.15). When the members of a nation can no longer
imagine a community that includes their fellow members, or if they imagine a community that includes only a particular division of their nation, then national sentiment will be adversely affected. Such an impediment in state national sentiment within the G.C.C. countries has been this very presence of different ethnicities and the imagined communities that exist amongst these ethnicities. The aim of the Gulf countries has been to create a sense of national identity despite the diversity of their populations so that the nationals would view themselves as citizens of their nation rather than members of sects or tribes (Holes, 2005). However, the G.C.C. countries are home to several different minority groups and Bahrain, with its Shiaa and naturalized Bahraini population, is such a case in point. Essentially, the presence of minorities has complicated the process of nation building and nationalism, especially since the voices of these minorities are subdued in the non-democratic countries of the Arab Middle East.
Political globalization, in terms of democratization, has been another challenge in the Arab Gulf. With political globalization come a number of threatening features such as the gradual loss of governmental power to the people and the democratization of states, which are in conflict with the
traditional ruling dynasties in the Arab Gulf States (Abdullah, 2006). The Arab countries are not immune to democratizing pressures and their leaders view the globalization of democracy as further meddlesome attempts by the West (Monshipori, 2002). These conservative Arab states view political and cultural globalization as an intrusion and a nuisance to their own social values (Abdullah, 2006). Although the Gulf countries are relatively less resistant than the other Arab countries to political globalization, they too have not completely embraced political globalization. Most of the Arab Gulf States have made some progress towards tolerance and democracy but have not undergone any major transformations in their political structure (Abdullah, 2006). In terms of democratization, the different Gulf States are on different points of the same continuum with Kuwait on the more liberal end, Saudi Arabia on the more conservative end and the other four countries at different parts of the spectrum (Abdullah, 2006).
It needs to be noted that globalization is a double-edged sword. Despite the argument that globalization weakens national identity, globalization is also the tool by which states advocate and instill in their people the image of a nation. In Jihad vs. McWorld, Benjamin Barber states that even
those against globalization require the commercial producers (Barber, 1995, p.155) and the information and communication systems (Barber, 1995, p. 155) in order to spread this anti-globalization sentiment. In addition to strengthening national identities, transnational identities are also created and propounded through the technologies and tools of globalization. Arab nationalism and the Al-Qaeda network are such transnational identities, which condemn the very process that it requires in order to proliferate. The Al-Qaeda network is a case example for the statement that the forces of Jihad are not only remembered and retrieved by the enemies of Me World but imagined and contrived by its friends and proponents (Barber, 1995, p.157).
In response to the effects of cultural and political globalization in the Arab Gulf States, it has been argued that the Gulf-owned transnational media outlets can provide an antidote and strengthen national identities. The belief is that through the Arab owned media such as the Saudi-owned Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) and the Qatari owned al-Jazeera channel, the Gulf countries can ensure that the media output is of such quality that it can provide an attractive alternative (Sakr, 2005, p.35). Unfortunately, so far this goal has not been achieved. In fact the Gulf-
owned media conglomerates have actually contributed to cultural globalization effects by airing such meager Arab programs that viewers are driven to Western channels and programs (Sakr, 2005). However, it is believed that the potential to provide an effective remedy to cultural imperialism still exists.
According to Halliday there exists three different forms of identity for Arabs in the Middle East, these are religious identity, the Arab identity, and local national identity (Halliday, 2005). Similarly, in the Gulf countries there also exist hierarchies of identity, which are fellow citizens, Gulf nationals, Arabs, and foreigners (Dresch, 2005). Governments and the ruling elite in Arab countries, including the Gulf, have used these different loyalties for their own convenience and to further their own causes (Halliday, 2005). Globalization has been demonized or praised as the ruling elite have seen fit for their own causes. For example, religious identity has been promoted to avoid the globalization pressures of democratization. On the other hand elites and politicians of Arab and other Muslim countries turned a blind eye to Islamic beliefs in order to make an entrance into the global economy (Murden, 2002). In some cases, governments and the elite are more concerned with surviving in and even
profiting from, rather than opting out of, what is viewed ultimately as a natural process (Levine, 2005, p.182).
It is believed that outside the G.C.C. the Arab Middle East has not embraced globalization but instead globalization has stimulated terrorism against the proponents of globalization, which is the Western world (Amini, 2006). For those countries that feel that globalization is not benefiting them, a radical religious or nationalist thought is what becomes one of the few available means to give people a renewed sense of place, to feel at home and re-rooted (Levine, 2005, p.56). In these cases the religion of Islam has filled the void in the development of national sentiment for the people of the Arab Middle East (Monshipori, 2002). The failure of governments to provide the Arabs with a strong national identity led to the people seeking comfort and a sense of belonging within Islam (Abu-Rabi, 2004), thereby transcending and even fragmenting the nation state.
Some Arabs take the religion of Islam a step further. Fundamentalism is often used as a tool of resistance against the forces of globalization. These societies and cultures are critical of the social and cultural changes that
globalization will create, and so some of the Arab Middle Eastern countries have utilized Islamic fundamentalism to help develop strong national sentiment and identities in the face of such external social, economic, and political forces (Scott, 2001). In Jihad vs. McWorld, Barber defined Jihad as a generic form of fundamentalist opposition to modernity that can be found in most world religions (Barber, 1995, p.205) and he used this term as a metaphor for anti-Western, antiuniversalist struggle (Barber, 1995, p.207). However, despite having written this book before the events of September 11th, 2001, he wondered if Jihad was more than just a metaphor in the Muslim world (Barber, 1995). For some Islamic fundamentalists, globalization contradicts the very principles of Islam and these fundamentalists interpret all Islamic sources as being inherently opposed to globalization (Abu-Rabi, 2004). The trouble begins when these fundamentalists take their beliefs and their discontent with the Western world to violent proportions, as was the case in the World Trade Center bombings on September 11th, 2001.
As was explained above, the G.C.C. countries have been less reactionary to the forces of globalization than the rest of the Arab world. However, transnational networks such as Al-Qaeda are able to extend their reach
into all countries through the use of the Internet and satellite television. Therefore, even though the policies of the Gulf States may not endorse anti-Western sentiment, the presence and scope of transnational organizations provide citizens with the communal identity that fuels such sentiment (Hudson, 2006).
The recent world events have furthered the Islamic fundamentalist thought within the Arab world. The Gulf War of 1991, the continued incursions in Palestine, the Iraq War, the War on Terror, have all rallied the Muslim countries, especially those of the Arab world, under the umbrella of Islam. These wars, which have targeted and affected Muslims, have given further confirmation of Western imperialism thereby strengthening pan-Islamic sentiment. National identity in the Arab Middle East, including the Arab Gulf, has been reinvented to include Islamism as its uniting factor
Globalization has brought to head the differences between the Arab countries and the Western world. Right or wrong, Western ideas and views are forced upon the Arab countries who feel that the West does not respect Arab or Islamic culture, and Arabs feel that the West does not attempt to help, understand or build cultural bridges (Aydinli, 2004). The
Western cultural pressures have threatened the beliefs and values of the Gulf countries leading to reactions of resistance and a revitalization of religious and traditional values. Such reactions are expressed in the news media, which publish articles exposing calling for the return to religion as well as through mature and serious attempts to preserve cultural heritage and promote national identity (Melikian, 1985).
Little research exists with regard to globalization effects in the Middle East. However, the World Values Survey (Inglehart, Basanex, Diez-Medrano, Halman & Luijkx, 2004) can be used as a starting point for such research and can also provide an interesting comparison. This survey conducted across different cultures to determine the values and beliefs that different people hold. This survey was conducted between 1999 and 2002 and spanned across 80 different countries, examining human values concerning politics, economics, religion, family values, identities and other important issues. Amongst the 80 countries in which this survey was conducted is Jordan, the only Arab Middle Eastern country where the survey was carried out. The results for the pertinent questions are presented in the table below.
Table 1.0; World Values Survey: Jordan
Question Number Question Response (%)
A006 How important is it in your life: Religion 96%
F034 Independently or whether you go to church or not, would you say you are a religious person 86%
El 17 Im going to describe various types of political systems and ask what you think about each as a way of governing this country: having a democratic political system 94%
E125 How satisfied are you with the people now in national office are handling the countrys affairs: Very satisfied/fairly satisfied 77%
E003A If you had to choose, which of the things on this card would you say is more important: Give people more say in government decisions 10%
G006 How proud are you to be Jordanian: Very proud 68%
Source: Inglehart et al. (2004). Human Beliefs and Values
The results of the survey conducted in this research will be compared with the results of the World Values Survey (Table 1.0) that was conducted in Jordan, in the following chapters. Even though Jordan is not a member of the G.C.C., it is an Arab country and a comparison with an existing survey can provide valuable insight.
The case study used in this research to determine the effect of globalization on national identity is the Kingdom of Bahrain. Even within the Gulf region, Bahrain was the first to develop. Prior to the discovery of oil, Bahrain had been the center of trade due to its geographic location (Zahlan, 1998) and its pearling industry (Cordesman, 1997). Bahrain was also the first Gulf country to discover oil, the first to develop a social and physical infrastructure, and therefore the first to open itself up to the forces of globalization (Shirawi, 1985). The social and political environment of Bahrain consists of ethnic and sectarian diversity. Approximately 65% of the Bahrains population is native Bahraini and amongst the natives, 35% are Sunni Muslims whereas the 65% are Shiaas (Cordesman, 1997). Despite the Shiaas being in majority, the ruling family is Sunni and the distribution of political and economic power has favored the Sunni population over the Shiaa (Cordesman, 1997). The presence of foreign workers and naturalized Bahrainis, who make up approximately 35% of the population, further exacerbate the discontent amongst the Shiaas who feel that in addition to discrimination they now had to compete with foreigners for employment (Cordesman, 1997).
Based on the research presented above, the following hypotheses can be made:
1) Pan-Arab national sentiment is a weak force amongst the Arabs of the G.C.C. countries
2) Islam is a defining factor of national identity in the G.C.C. countries.
3) Globalization is interpreted as Westernization in the G.C.C. States.
4) Cultural globalization is viewed as an unwelcome phenomenon in the Arab Gulf States.
5) G.C.C. Arabs view Western beliefs as immoral.
6) G.C.C. Arabs see the imposition of Western beliefs as a result of globalization.
7) The citizens of G.C.C. countries desire political globalization in the form of democratization.
8) Globalization has decreased nationalist identity amongst the Arabs in the G.C.C. States.
These hypotheses will be tested and either proved or disproved by the analysis of the survey results in the following sections.
RESULTS Subjects Age
Table 2.1: Age of Subjects
Table 2.2: Median and Average Age
Median Age Average Age
Figure 2.0: Subjects Age Distribution
Table 3.0: Subjects Gender Distribution
Subjects Education Level
Table 40: Subjects Education Level
Education Level Count
High School 2
Figure 4.0: Education Level of Subjects
Do you think that other Arabs are the same as Bahrainis? Yes/No
Table 5.0: Comparison Between Bahrainis and Other Arabs
Arabs and Bahrainis Count
Not the Same 21
Not the Same
Figure 5.0: Bahrainis and Other Arabs
In order from 1 to 5 (l=lowest. 5=highest) please rate how much you feel that you share a common bond with the following: Arabs, Asians, Citizens of Bahrain. Muslims
Table 6.0: Strong Common Bonds
Strong Common Bond Count Percentage
Arabs 6 22%
Asians 4 15%
Citizens of Bahrain 19 70%
Muslims 18 67%
Arabs Asians Citizens of Bahrain Muslims
Figure 6.1: Strong Common Bonds
Figure 6.2: Strong Common Bonds in Percentages
| 40% o
Arabs Asians Citizens of Bahrain Muslims
Traditional Leaning Determined from: Wearing Traditional Clothes. Eating Traditional Cuisine, and Conversing in Arabic
Table 7.0: Traditional Leaning of Subjects
Traditional Leaning Count
M Traditional Non-traditional
Figure 7.0: Traditional Leaning
Subjects Religious Leaning Determined From: How Often they Pray, Whether they visit the Mosque, and if they Fast in Ramadan
Table 8.0: Religious Leaning of Subjects
Religious Leaning Count
Figure 8.0: Religious Leaning
What Defines Being a Bahraini? Table 9.0: Defining Factors of a Bahraini
Defining Factor Count Percentage
Birth/Growing up 13 48%
Contribution to Economy 5 19%
Culture/Language 6 22%
Heritage 2 7%
Pride 4 15%
Religion/V alues/Beliefs 8 30%
Sense of Belonging 2 7%
Figure 9.1; Definition of Bahraini
Figure 9.2: Defining Factor in Percentages
In Your Opinion, What is Globalization? Table 10.0: Defining Globalization
Defining Factors of Globalization Count Percentages
American Imperialism 4 15%
Communication/Connecting People 11 41%
Cultural Exchanges 11 41%
Democratization 1 4%
Economic Exchange/Free Trade 8 30%
Information/Education Exchange 4 15%
Technology Exchange 5 19%
Figure 10.1: Defining Factors of Globalization
1 i ^ 4
Figure 10.2: Defining Factors of Globalization in Percentages
On a Scale of 1 to 5 (l=lowest. 5=highest). How Much of an Impact Has
Globalization had on your Country?
Table 11.0: Impact of Globalization in Bahrain
1 (No Impact) 0
2 (Little Impact) 1
3 (Some Impact) 8
4 (Significant Impact) 15
5 (A lot of Impact) 3
Figure 11.1: Impact of Globalization in Bahrain
j01(No Impact) M2 (Little Impact) D3 (Some Impact) D4 (Significant Impact) M5 (A lot of Impact)
Figure 11.2: Impact of Globalization in Bahrain in Percentages
In Your Opinion. How Has Globalization Affected Bahrain?
Table 12.0: Effect of Globalization in Bahrain
Effect Count Percentages
Brain Drain 1 4%
Immigration Problems 1 4%
Increased Awareness/Cultural Exchange 2 7%
Increased Standard of Living 3 11%
Inferiority Complex 1 4%
Loss of Culture/Tradition 9 33%
Loss of Values 2 7%
More Literacy 1 4%
Opportunities and Job Creation 1 4%
Stronger Economy 1 4%
Technology Exchange 2 7%
Westernization 8 30%
Figure 12.1: Effect of Globalization in Bahrain
Figure 12.2: Effect of Globalization in Percentages
What Do You Think Are Some of the Positive Effects of
Table 13.0: Positive Effects of Globalization
Positive Effects of Globalization Count Percentages
Availability of Goods/Competition 6 22%
Cultural Exchange 14 52%
Democratization 1 4%
Free Trade 7 26%
Increased Standard ol Living/wealth/economy 8 30%
Information exchange 6 22%
Opportunities and Job Creation 3 11%
Science/Technology exchange 5 19%
Transparency 1 4%
Uniformity 1 4%
Figurel3.0: Positive Effects of Globalization
Figure 13.2; Positive Effects of Globalization in Percentages
What Do You Think Are The Negative Effects Of Globalization?
Table 14.0: Negative Effects of Globalization
Negative Effects of Globalization Count Percentages
Immigration Problems 3 11%
Imperialism and Exploitation 5 19%
Increased Disparities 2 7%
Loss of Culture/Nationalism 11 41%
Small Businesses Suffering 1 4%
Spread of Immorality 8 30%
Spread of Materialism 2 7%
Wars and Insecurities 3 11%
Fieure 14.0; Negative Effects of Globalization
Figure 14.2: Negative Effects of Globalization in Percentages
Are You Satisfied With This System of Government? Yes/No
Table 15.0: Satisfaction with Government
Satisfaction With Government Count
Not Satisfied 13
Figure 15.1: Satisfaction with Government
ilSatisified BNot Satisfied
Figure 15.2: Satisfaction with Government in Percentages
Not Satisfied With Government: What Kind Of Government Would
Table 16.0: Preferred System of Government
Preferred System of Government Count Percentage
Democracy 7 26%
Others 6 22%
Figure 16.0: Preferred System of Government
Do You Feel That National Sentiment In Your Country Has Been
Affected By Globalization? Yes/No
Table 17.0: Whether Globalization Has Affected Nationalism in Bahrain
Has Globalization Affected Nationalism Count
Figure 17.0: Has Globalization Affected Nationalism in Bahrain
If Nationalism Has Been Affected: What Are the Affects?
Table 18.0: Effect of Globalization on Nationalism in Bahrain
Effect on Nationalism Count
Strengthened Nationalism 4
Lessened Nationalism 14
Figure 18.0: Globalizations Effect on Nationalism
How Do You Think Bahrainis View The Rest Of The World?
Table 19.0: Perceiving the Rest of the World
View of the Rest of the World Count Percentages
Corrupt/Immoral 5 19%
Developed/Inspiring/Ideal 5 19%
Don't Know 6 22%
Imperialist 4 15%
Neutrally 6 22%
Superior 1 4%
Figure 19.1: Perceiving the Rest of the World
Figure 19.2: Perceiving the Rest of the World in Percentages
What Are Your Sources Of Information On The Rest Of The World?
Table 20.0: Subjects Sources of Information
Sources of Information Count Percentages
Academic Institutions 2 7%
Books 3 11%
Internet 19 70%
Newspapers/Magazines 16 59%
People 5 19%
Television/Radio 19 70%
Travel 1 4%
Figure 20.1: Sources of Information
Figure 20.2: Sources of Information in Percentages
Table 21.0: Relation Between Religious Leaning and Opinion on Effects on Nationalism
Effect on Nationalism Religious Leaning Non-religious Leaning
Increased 3 1
Decreased 9 5
None 7 2
Figure 21.0; Religious Leaning and Effect on Nationalism
Table 22.0: Relation Between Traditional Leaning and Opinion on Effects
Effect on Nationalism Traditional Leaning Non-traditional Leaning
Increased 2 2
Decreased 7 7
None 4 5
Figure 22.0: Traditional Leaning and Effect on Nationalism
The average age and median age of the subjects, as shown in Table 1.2, was 27.85 and 24, respectively. The majority of the subjects were between the ages of 21 and 25 as indicated in Figure 2.0. The gender distribution of the subjects was 59% female and 41% male as shown in Figure 3.0. A large majority of the subjects, 74%, had a Bachelors degree, 19% of the subjects had obtained their Masters degree, and 7% of the subjects had completed high school, as can be seen in Figure 4.0. These statistics of the subjects indicate that biases exist. Considering the median age of the subjects was 24, the data collected would reflect the answers of a certain age group within the Bahraini population rather than the whole range. This would indicate an age bias. Another bias would be an educational bias since the majority of subjects that were interviewed were highly educated, which also does not accurately reflect the entire population.
Based on the above statistics, it can be seen that the subject population was of a slice of the elites of Bahrain. The results of the survey will therefore provide insight into the opinions of the more educated and
younger population of Bahrain. The hypotheses that were formulated in Chapter 2 cannot be proved or disproved conclusively for the entire population of Bahrain, but can and will be proved or disproved based on the existing subject population
The majority of the subjects, 78%, were of the view that Bahrainis and other Arabs were not the same as can be seen in Figure 5.0. When asked why, a common answer was because Bahrainis were more educated than most other Arabs. However, this response could be a direct result of the education bias, considering most of the subjects that were interviewed were themselves highly educated. Another common answer was that Bahrain had its own unique history and culture, while some stated that Bahrainis were friendlier, more open-minded, and more progressive than other Arabs of the Middle East. However, 22% of the subject population agreed that Bahrainis were the same as other Arabs, stating that all Arabs had the same culture, the same religion, and the same values, and were therefore the same.
When given a list of groups of people and asked to rate the groups of people that they feel the strongest bond with, 70% of the subjects felt a
strong bond with citizens of Bahrain, 67% felt a strong bond with Muslims, 22% felt a strong bond with other Arabs, and 15% felt a strong bond with Asians, as per Figure 6.2.
The majority of the subject population (78%) feels that Bahrainis and Arabs are not a homogenous people and only 13% of the subject population feel any common bonds with other Arabs. Having developed its own history from the time of independence in 1971, Bahrain has become a separate entity, with its own set of laws and policies. In terms of education and technical skills Bahrain can boast being most advanced (Zahlan, 1998). Furthermore, due to a long history of trading and shipping (Zahlan, 1998), Bahrain is also more liberal and tolerant than other Arab countries. Due to all these factors, most of the subject population has clearly stated that Bahrainis have a separate and distinct culture from other Arabs. Therefore, hypothesis 1, stating that Pan-Arab national sentiment is a weak force amongst Arabs of G.C.C. countries, is supported by the results of this subject population.
The subjects were asked a series of questions, as a rough criterion, to determine whether or not they followed their Bahraini traditions and
thereby rate their traditional leaning. Figure 7.0 indicates that approximately half of the subject population can be termed traditional (48%) and other half can be termed non-traditional (52%). The subjects were also asked a series of questions to determine their religious leaning. The results of these questions were more decisive and it was found that the majority of the subject population (70%) could be termed religious and a smaller percentage (30%) could be termed non-religious, as can be seen in Figure 8.0.
In defining what made them Bahraini, the subjects provided a range of different answers which were being bom and growing up in Bahrain, contributing to the Bahraini economy, their culture and Arabic language, their heritage, their pride in Bahrain, their Islamic beliefs and values, and their sense of belonging. The most common defining factor of a Bahraini amongst the subjects was their birth and the fact that they grew up in Bahrain (48%), the second highest factor was the subjects religion, values and beliefs at 30%, as indicated in Figure 9.2. Since the subject population was 27, these percentages translate into 13 subjects describing being born and raised in Bahrain as what defined them as Bahrainis and only 8 subjects describing Islamic values and beliefs as their defining factors
(Table 9.0 and Figure 9.1). In addition to this, 6 subjects (22%) stated culture and language, 5 (19%) stated contribution to the Bahraini economy, 4 (15%) stated pride in Bahrain, 2 (7%) stated heritage, and 2 (7%) stated a sense of belonging as factors that defined their Bahraini identity.
In comparing the traditional leaning with the religious leaning of the subjects, the results indicate that while approximately half (48%) of the subject population is traditional, a much larger percentage and a majority of the subject population, at 70%, are religious. This would indicate that the religion of Islam plays an important role in the lives of Bahrainis. However, when answering the question of what defines their Bahraini identity only 8 of the 27 subjects (30%) mentioned the religion of Islam as a defining factor. Also, referring back to Figure 6.2, more subjects stated a common bond with other Bahrainis than with other Muslims. Therefore, according to these results, hypothesis 2 that states Islam is a defining factor of national identity in G.C.C. States is disproved based on this sample population. Although the G.C.C. countries are all Islamic countries and seek to advance their national identity, a history of colonialism and
early globalization have made them aware of the importance of a secular government and separation of state from religion.
Subjects were asked to define globalization according to what it meant to them. The most common defining factors of globalization were communication/connecting people and cultural exchanges at 41% of the subject population stating this as can be seen in Table 10.0 and Figure 10.2. Eight of the 27 subjects, which translates into 30%, stated that the interaction of economies and free trade was what defined globalization. Five of the subject population (19%) defined globalization as technological exchange, four of the subjects (15%) defined it as information exchange, four (15%) also defined it as American imperialism, and one subject (4%) defined globalization as the spread of democracy, as can be seen in Figures 10.1 and 10.2. In analyzing the results of this question, it can be seen that very few of the subjects (15%) defined globalization as American imperialism but instead used phrases such as the coming together of the world, the transfer of culture and customs, the world become smaller, global integration, and bridging the gap. These opinions could also be attributed to the fact that Bahrain is a comparatively liberal country and a tourist attraction for foreigners,
which allows its citizens to be more welcoming and tolerant. Therefore, even though a small minority (four of the 27 subjects) defined globalization as American imperialism, the large minority did not and so hypothesis 3 that states that globalization is interpreted as Westernization in G.C.C. countries is not supported by these results of this subject population. Once again, the unique history of Bahrain can explain these results. Due to the early discovery of oil in Bahrain, the country underwent unprecedented economic growth, which afforded it the material benefits of globalization. Such growth and economic globalization effects became an ingrained part of Bahrains newly forming identity and this can provide an explanation for the reason that globalization does not translate solely into Westernization for this Bahraini subject population.
Subjects were asked to rate how much they felt that globalization had had an impact in Bahrain. The majority of the subjects (55%) agreed that globalization had significant impact in Bahrain, and 30% of the subject population agreed that globalization has had some impact in Bahrain, as can be seen in Figure 11.2.
The subjects were then asked to describe the effects that globalization had had in Bahrain. From the 27 subjects, 9 of the subjects (33%) described the loss of culture and tradition as an effect of globalization in Bahrain, and 8 of the subjects (30%) agreed that Westernization has been a result of globalization in Bahrain (Figures 12.1 and 12.2). In addition to Westernization and the loss of culture and tradition, there were other effects of globalization that were described as occurring in Bahrain that were also of a negative nature such as a brain-drain, immigrant problems, and the loss of values. Of the 27 subjects, 3 subjects (11%) felt that globalization had contributed to a higher standard of living, 2 subjects (7%) felt that globalization had led to increased awareness and cultural understandings, 2 subjects (7%) felt that globalization had contributed to technological advancements, 1 subject (4%) felt that it had led to greater literacy, 1 subject (4%) believed that it led to more opportunities, and 1 subject (4%) felt that it had led to a stronger economy in Bahrain, as can be seen in Table 12.0 and Figures 12.1 and 12.2. Amongst the comments for this question were concerns that Bahrainis had lost their tradition and no longer spoke Arabic as their mother-tongue but instead spoke only English, and that younger generations were becoming too Westernized. Other comments also included that globalization had led to novel ideas of
consciousness and identities, the desire to be part of a global culture, and the opening up of new horizons.
From these results it can be seen that although the subjects are concerned about the negative aspects of globalization, they realize that globalization brings with it many advantages. Therefore, it can be deduced that the subjects do not object to the phenomenon of globalization, but are wary of the negative effects that are associated with it. From these results it can be seen that the subject population supports hypothesis 4, which states that cultural globalization is viewed as an unwelcome phenomenon in the Gulf States of the Arab world. Despite the fact that Bahrain embraced the nascent forces of globalization, it is still part of an ancient heritage and a strong Islamic past. Values and traditions are important to Arab world and Bahrain is no different, which is why concern over the loss of this culture is reflected in the results of this survey.
The subjects were asked to describe the positive and negative aspects of globalization. Fourteen of the 27 subjects (52%) agreed that cultural exchange was a positive aspect of globalization, 8 subjects (30%) felt that globalization increased the standard of living, 7 subjects (26%) agreed that
globalization led to free trade, and 6 subjects (22%) also felt that globalization allowed people to exchange information and ideas, as Table 13.0 and Figures 13.1 and 13.2 show. Amongst the answers to the negative effects of globalization, most subjects (11 of the 27, 41%) felt that the loss of nationalism and culture was a negative effect as was the spread of immorality (8 of the 27, 30%) as can be seen in Figures 14.1 and 14.2. In addition to this, 5 subjects (19%) were concerned about imperialism and exploitation, 3 subjects (11%) were worried about wars and insecurities, another 3 (11%) were worried about immigrant problems, 2 were concerned about increased disparities, another 2 (7%) were concerned about the spread of materialism, and 1 (4%) also felt that small local businesses would suffer as a result of globalization (Table 14.0 and Figures 14.1 and 14.2).
The majority of the subjects (14 of the 27, 52%) agreed that cultural exchange was a positive effect of globalization. In addition to this, there were many other positive effects of globalization that were stated. However, the most agreed upon negative effect of globalization was also the loss of culture and nationalism, with spread of immorality as the second most agreed upon negative effect. Despite the knowledge of the
advantages that come with the process of globalization, when asked to list the effects of globalization in Bahrain (Table 12.0, and Figures 12.1 and 12.2), the most common effects stated were the loss of culture and tradition (33%) and Westernization (30%), both of these being negative effects. In addition, comments such as our people are becoming more and more Westernized...leading to behavioral problems, the youth of our country are absorbing Western culture and are losing their morals, and Bahrain has become far too Westernized, bad things go on behind closed doors, for example, alcohol, drugs, sex...things that werent common in Bahraini society prove that the majority of the subjects view the Western lifestyle as corrupt and depraved. Furthermore, these subjects are concerned with the imposition of this lifestyle and beliefs. According to these results, the subject population proves hypotheses 5 and 6, which state that, the Gulf Arabs view Western beliefs as immoral, and see the imposition of Western beliefs as a result of globalization, correct.
The subjects were then asked whether they were satisfied with their system of government, and if they were satisfied why they were satisfied, and if they were not, what system of government they would prefer. More than half of the subjects, 14 of the 27 (52%), were satisfied with their
system of government and a little less than half, 13 of the 27 (48%) were not satisfied with their system of government, as can be seen in Table 15.0 and Figures 15.1 and 15.2. From amongst those who were dissatisfied with the system of government, 7 of the subjects (26% of all the subjects) preferred a democratic system as can be seen in Table 16.0 and Figure 16.0. Amongst the answers that the other 6 subjects who werent satisfied with their system of government gave were that they would prefer improvements in the present system, they would prefer no government, or would prefer a limited republic. Amongst the reasons of the subjects who were satisfied with the system of government in their country for why they were satisfied were that they were content because they felt that the constitutional monarchy worked well for them, that the country was prospering under this system, and that the government looked after its citizens.
From these results it can be seen that even though 48% of the subject population are not satisfied with their government, only 26% of the subject population would prefer a democracy instead. Therefore, hypothesis 7, which states that the citizens of G.C.C. countries desire political globalization through democratization, is not conclusively supported by
these results. This result reflects the relative retardation of G.C.C.
countries in embracing political globalization. Although attempting to move towards a more democratic government through certain reforms, the Bahraini monarchy is not yet willing to make such drastic change. Furthermore, as can be seen with the comments provided by the subject population, citizens appear satisfied with their system of government.
The subjects were also asked whether they felt that national identity in Bahrain had been affected by globalization. As can be seen in Table 17.0 and Figures 17.0, the majority of the subject population, 18 of the 27 which is 67%, agreed that national identity had been affected whereas 9 of the subjects, which is 33% agreed that national identity has not been affected globalization. Amongst those who felt that national identity has been affected by globalization, as can be seen in Table 18.0 and Figures 18.0, 14 of the 27 subjects (52% of the subject population) agreed that national sentiment has decreased as a result of globalization whereas 4 of the 27 subjects, 15% of the subject population, felt that national sentiment has increased as a result of globalization.
The majority of those who feel that that national sentiment in Bahrain has been affected by globalization feel that this effect has caused national sentiment to decline. Therefore, hypothesis 8, which states that globalization has decreased state national sentiment in the G.C.C., is supported by these results.
In addition to the above results, the subjects were also asked to describe how Bahrainis viewed the world. Amongst the 27 subjects, 6 subjects (22%) answered that they did not know, 6 (22%) thought the world is viewed neutrally by Bahrainis, 5 (19%) thought it is seen as corrupt and immoral, another 5 (19%) thought it is seen as a model, 4 (15%) believed the outside world is viewed as imperialistic, and 1 subject (4%) thought the world is seen as superior by Bahrainis, as can be seen in Table 18.0 and Figures 19.1 and 19.2. In answering this question, the subjects interpreted the rest of the world as meaning the Western world. Comments made by the subjects about the rest of the world included it is advanced but morally and ethically lost, the West exploits, anti-American sentiment exists due to what is going on in Palestine and Iraq...the imperialistic attitude angers Bahrainis, Bahrainis arent too concerned with the outside world beyond economic and entertainment
aspects, and the upcoming Bahraini generations are absorbing the positive and growing global culture. Another viewpoint was that the older generations of Bahrain view the rest of the world as immoral while the younger generations admire and desire the freedom that is given.
Subjects were also asked what their sources of information on the rest of the world were. The two most popular sources of information were the Internet and the television and radio, with 19 subjects (70% of subject population) each, and the next most popular source of information was newspapers and magazines, where 16 people (59% of subject population) agreed on this, as can be seen in Table 20.0 and Figures 20.1 and 20.2
Since the Internet, television, and radio contain a wide range of media including Western media and local media, these sources of information provide their viewers with a diversity of points of view. Exposure to such media means that the audience is often subject to barrage of different, and sometimes opposing, opinions and biases. Whether the subjects watch internationally based news channels such as CNN, and visit international websites, or watch locally based channels such as Al-Jazeera on television and visit local websites will often determine their opinions and
perceptions. This is demonstrated by the fact that the subjects in this research had varied views of the outside world including a positive view, a negative view, and an indifferent view. These statistics also indicate the presence of a digital divide amongst the Bahraini population. The subject population for this survey was a section of the upper and educated class of Bahrain. As can be seen above, the sources of information for the majority of the population were the Internet and television. However, the actual majority of the Bahraini population do not have access to such technologies and would therefore have experienced different levels of globalization and have different opinions on its effects.
To determine whether there was a relation between the subjects religious leaning and their opinion of the affect of globalization on national sentiment in Bahrain, the results of these two questions were analyzed. As can be seen in Table 21.0 and Figure 21.0, no relationship could be established between the two variables. The majority of the subjects who were religiously inclined (9 subjects) believed that national sentiment had declined, however a significant number (7 subjects) believed that national identity had not been affected, and 3 subjects also were of the opinion that national sentiment had increased as a result of globalization. Of the
subjects who were not religiously inclined, 5 subjects still believed that national sentiment had declined, 1 subject felt that national sentiment had increased, and 2 subjects did not think that national sentiment had been affected at all by globalization.
In the same way, the traditional leaning of the subjects was analyzed with the subjects opinions of the affect of globalization on national identity in Bahrain. As can be seen in Table 22.0 and Figure 22.0, no relationship could be established between these two variables. In fact the distribution of subjects based on their opinions was almost exactly the same for the traditionally inclined as for those who were not traditionally inclined. Amongst the traditionally inclined, 2 subjects felt that national sentiment had increased, 7 felt that national sentiment had decreased, and 4 subjects believed that nationalism had not been affected by globalization. Amongst those who were not traditionally inclined, also 2 subjects were of the opinion that national sentiment had increased, also 7 subjects felt that national sentiment had decreased, and 6 subjects believed that national sentiment had not been affected by globalization.
A relationship could not be established between either the subjects religious inclination nor their traditional inclination and their opinion of the affect of globalization on national sentiment. However, what was noticed was that independent of the subjects religious leaning, the majority of the subjects in either group (religiously inclined and not religiously inclined) were of the opinion that national sentiment had decreased. Similarly, independent of the subjects traditional leaning, the majority of the subjects in either group (traditionally inclined and not traditionally inclined) were also of the opinion that national identity had declined. These results indicate that personal biases or beliefs aside, most of the subjects are in agreement that national sentiment in Bahrain has declined as a result of the processes of globalization.
The results of the survey can also be compared with the results of the World Values Survey (Table 1.0) that was conducted in Jordan. Even though Jordan is not a member of the G.C.C., it is an Arab country and a comparison with an existing survey can provide valuable insight.
According to the World Value Survey (Table 1.0) 86% of Jordanians stated that they were religious people and 96% stated that religion was
important in their lives, whereas 70% of Bahrainis were found to be religiously inclined (Table 8.0 and Figure 8.0). When asked whether they were satisfied with their present system of government, 77% of Jordanians expressed satisfaction and 54% of the Bahraini subjects expressed satisfaction (Table 15.0 and Figures 15.1 and 15.2). 94% of the Jordanians agreed that having a democratic system would be a good way to govern the country whereas in Bahrain 25% preferred democratization (Table 16.0 and Figure 16.0). Only 10% of Jordanians desired more say in government decisions, and 68% of them stated that they were very proud to be Jordanian.
It can be seen from the results of the World Values Survey that the people of Jordan are more traditional and religiously inclined than their Bahraini counterparts. This could be attributed to the fact that Jordan underwent revival of pan-Arab sentiment whereas Bahrain and the other G.C.C. States were relatively unaffected by the Arab nationalism. Jordan has also been a very traditional society, which remained closed to the rest of the world and to the forces of globalization for a long time. From the World Values Survey results it can be inferred that Jordanians have a stronger national identity than Bahrainis. Although their opinions on globalization
where not sought, it can be deduced that these opinions would be different from those of the Bahraini subject due to the different histories and cultural experiences of the recent past.
Although Arab nationalism was prevalent during, and immediately after, the time of independence in the Middle East, the process of independence and the subsequent cultural and historical change that each of the Arab countries separately faced caused a weakening in the forces of pan-Arabism. This decline is validated in the fact that more Bahrainis expressed a strong bond with other Bahrainis and other Muslims, than with other Arabs of the Middle East. While the religion of Islam was found to play a major role in the personal lives of the subjects, few agreed that it was a defining factor of Bahraini nationalism.
To most of the subjects, the term globalization was defined as the process of connecting people from all over the world and the interaction of different cultures, and economic exchange was also a feature of globalization for many subjects. While being aware of the positive aspects of globalization, such as cultural exchange and increased standard of living, most subjects were concerned about the negative impact of
globalization in Bahrain, namely the loss of traditions and culture and the imposition of Western thought and ideas.
Although some from the subject population expressed dissatisfaction with their system of government, only a few conveyed a desire for democracy. It was also found that the Internet, television, and radio were the most common sources of information on the outside world and due to the wide range of websites, channels, and stations, the subjects have been exposed to a variety of different perspectives and views. This attributes to the varying opinions of the outside world ranging from corrupt and immoral to inspiring and ideal.
The majority of the subjects felt that globalization had affected nationalism in Bahrain, and the majority of the subjects also expressed concern that this effect had been a negative one, causing national identity to decline. Since the research performed utilized Bahrain as a sample or a case study representing the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the results of this research indicate that globalization has caused a decline in national sentiment in the G.C.C.
Having said that, a tremendous amount of research needs yet to be done. Although Bahrain was taken as a sample representing the G.C.C. in the Arab Middle East, differences amongst all Arab nations exist, and no country can be identical, despite the similarities that may exist. Each of the Gulf States has embarked on their own historical experiences and each government adopts different policies. Due to these differences in experiences, there will therefore also exist differences in opinion and sentiments.
As presented in Table 1.0, the World Values Survey (Inglehart et al., 2004) was conducted in Jordan. Jordan is not a member of the Gulf Cooperative Council and has limited natural resources. Therefore, although Jordan is an Arab country like Bahrain, there do exist differences between the two. The World Values Survey is an invaluable source of information and can provide insight into the beliefs and attitudes of different peoples and cultures. Nevertheless, the fact that Jordan was the only Arab Middle Eastern country that was studied in this survey indicates that there is still a dearth of focus in the area. Furthermore, in comparing the results of the World Values Survey in Jordan and the research conducted in Bahrain, differences in opinions and beliefs were found. This
signifies that the research conducted in one Arab country cannot be used as a generalization for the rest of them.
A pervasive thought amongst the subjects interviewed was that Bahrainis were different from other Arabs. In addition to being different culturally, different Arabs may have experienced different levels of globalization and different intensities of nationalism, and may therefore have different perspectives from those who were interviewed. Consequently, the next step in this field of research would be to extend this research to more countries so that a sample from all the Arab countries exists.
Even within this research, limitations also existed. The method of sampling used was snowball sampling, which entailed obtaining referrals from initial subjects to generate additional subjects. Due to time constraints, a relatively small sample population was used and the questions that were posed to the subjects were open ended so that quality responses could be obtained without leading the participants. The very nature of the sampling method meant that a limited group would be targeted and would not be a not a good representation of the population. The subject population of this survey captured an important section of the
Bahraini population, which is of the young and educated elite, and this research presents the unique views of this population.
However, Bahrain is home to many naturalized Bahrainis as well as a large Shiia community and neither of these groups were represented in the subject population used for this research. Therefore, in order to move beyond the opinions of a certain section of the population, the next step would be to include all segments of the Bahraini population.
Therefore, it is imperative that this preliminary research be followed by a more thorough investigation into the affects of globalization on national identity in the G.C.C. States. Although more literature based on this area is emerging, the majority of it is from non-Arab authors and scholars. Research such as this allows the viewpoint of Arabs to come through, providing an insight into the Arab psyche, allowing them to be better understood and providing society with a different perspective to the current state of international affairs.