Transformations of Manama: Equations of Demography, Islamization and Commercialization

This study explores how many factors, beginning with the recession of the pearl trade and the discovery of oil to the oil boom since the mid-1970s, contributed to the rapid urbanization of the Bahraini capital Manama. It looks at how this growth has opened the door to the arrival of large numbers of foreign workers, including the poor, unskilled or middle class, who have been inching towards having the dominant presence in much of the old city and the surrounding area. The study found that in the midst of these transformations, the political arena witnessed new, unprecedented dynamics, the most important of which was the growth of political Islam currents after the decline of nationalist and leftist trends, the emergence of cultural challenges related to the Bahraini identity, and the attempt to transform old Manama into a popular destination for domestic and foreign tourism.

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Abstract

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This study explores how many factors, beginning with the recession of the pearl trade and the discovery of oil to the oil boom since the mid-1970s, contributed to the rapid urbanization of the Bahraini capital Manama. It looks at how this growth has opened the door to the arrival of large numbers of foreign workers, including the poor, unskilled or middle class, who have been inching towards having the dominant presence in much of the old city and the surrounding area. The study found that in the midst of these transformations, the political arena witnessed new, unprecedented dynamics, the most important of which was the growth of political Islam currents after the decline of nationalist and leftist trends, the emergence of cultural challenges related to the Bahraini identity, and the attempt to transform old Manama into a popular destination for domestic and foreign tourism.

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