The League of Nations and the Transformation of Representation

Sectarianism, consociationalism, and the Middle East
  • Citation: Shields, Sarah. “The League of Nations and the Transformation of Representation: Sectarianism, Consociationalism, and the Middle East.” In The Institution of International Order, edited by Simon Jackson and Alanna O'Malley. Routledge, 2018.
    • Topics:
    • Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • sectarianism
    • consociationalism
    • League of Nations
    • Europe
    • Middle East

This chapter argues that Europeans after First World War introduced, through the institutional and ideological vector of the League of Nations, a new kind of identity politics in the Middle East that exacerbated the kinds of differences that we today label as sectarian. It focuses on the consequences of two cases in which the League of Nations, asked to intervene in a dispute over territory, sought to decide territorial ownership based on the collective identities of the populations. The League of Nations experimented with a new form of identity politics in its allocation of the disputed Sanjak of Alexandretta, a struggle that began in 1936 and marked one of the League of Nations’ first forays into a kind of proto-consociationalism. When Turkey and Great Britain referred the dispute over Mosul to the League of Nations in 1925, the League Council sent a Commission to the disputed province.

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