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Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Bucerius Pre-Doctoral Grant

In Search of New Sources of Legitimacy – The Promotion of Climate Protection in Arab Gulf Monarchies


In contrast to the already existing vast amount of explanations for the resilience of Gulf monarchies during the Arab upheavals since 2011, the project aims at investigating the intentions and reasons behind the recent environmental-friendly activities of fossil fuel-rich countries in the Gulf region. The comparative analysis includes efforts of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates towards more sustainability as a means to pursue ‘sustainable legitimacy’ and a tool for limiting risks to the regime’s hold on power. A multi-method research design is applied for exploring how climate protection is used to gain social support on a domestic level and to increase international reputation on an external dimension.

Tobias Zumbrägel is a student in Germany. He received his B.A. in Islamic Studies and History from the University of Cologne. His bachelor thesis on the role of Gamal ‘Abd an-Nasser in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 was awarded with the faculty price in 2013. He obtained his M.A. in the interdisciplinary joint Master’s program Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society (CMEPS) from the University of Tübingen, Germany, and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. His master thesis focuses on Qatar’s promotion of environmental protection and its effects on a domestic and international level.

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