A Primer to Social Conflict in Kuwait: Voting on Economic Legislation in the Kuwaiti National Assembly 2006-2012

This study unpacks social conflict in Kuwait using voting on economic legislation in the national assembly as an example. The paper is premised on a critique of rentier state theory and theories that explain the role of parliaments in authoritarian regimes with high rents. The study finds that voting on economic legislation in a country with high oil rents such as Kuwait depends primarily on the type of goods that the regime uses in order to co-opt the various social groups. Consequently, a deeper reading of social conflict in rentier states is presented, transcending the reductionist view that assumes an absence of any class or social conflict in these countries or reduces them to a simple struggle over rent.

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This study unpacks social conflict in Kuwait using voting on economic legislation in the national assembly as an example. The paper is premised on a critique of rentier state theory and theories that explain the role of parliaments in authoritarian regimes with high rents. The study finds that voting on economic legislation in a country with high oil rents such as Kuwait depends primarily on the type of goods that the regime uses in order to co-opt the various social groups. Consequently, a deeper reading of social conflict in rentier states is presented, transcending the reductionist view that assumes an absence of any class or social conflict in these countries or reduces them to a simple struggle over rent.

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