Radical Transformations and Radical Contestations: Bahrain’s Spatial-Demographic Revolution
This article approaches the developments in Bahrain during the first decade of the twenty-first century through a geographical, historical materialism perspective. It moves away from emphasizing the traditional narratives of events in the island as dominated by identity-based (and particularly sect-based) politics, arguing that the interactions between space, capital, and people
over time are also central to explaining local dynamics. It argues that this period has been defined by a radical transformation of the spatial-demographic landscape of Bahrain, and that this perturbed state of creation and destruction on the spatial and demographic fronts crucially was reflected in a radical contestation of social identity, values and discourses. These play an important role in explaining the political explosion that occurred on14 February 2011 and the subsequent political mobilization along sectarian and nationalist lines.