Workers and Working Classes in the Middle East

Struggles, Histories, Historiographies

Edited by Zachary Lockman

Subjects: History
Series: SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East
Paperback : 9780791416662, 341 pages, November 1993
Hardcover : 9780791416655, 341 pages, December 1993

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Table of contents


Zachary Lockman

1. Militant Journeymen in Nineteenth-Century Damascus: Implications for the Middle Eastern Labor History Agenda
Sherry Vatter

2. Ottoman Workers and the State, 1826-1914
Donald Quataert

3. Other Workers: A Critical Reading of Representations of Egyptian Petty Commodity Production at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Kristin Koptiuch

4. "Worker" and "Working Class" in pre-1914 Egypt: A Rereading
Zachary Lockman

5. Worker's Voice and Labor Productivity in Egypt
Ellis Goldberg

6. The Development of Working-Class Consciousness in Turkey
Feroz Abroad

7. Historiography, Class, and Iranian Workers
Feroz Abroad

8. Collective Action and Workers' Consciousness in Contemporary Egypt
Marsha Pripstein Posusney

9. Will the Real Egyptian Working Class Please Stand Up?
Joel Beinin

10. History for the Many or History for the Few? The Historiography of the Iraqi Working Class
Eric Davis

11. The History of the Working Classes in the Middle East: Some Methodological Considerations
Edmund Burke III

12. Labor History and the Politics of Theory: An Indian Angle on the Middle East
Dipesh Chakrabarty

About the Contributors



This book brings together for the first time the work of many of the leading scholars in the field of Middle East working-class history. Using historical material from nineteenth-century Syria, late Ottoman Anatolia, republican Turkey, Egypt from the late nineteenth century through the Sadat period, Iran before and after the overthrow of the Shah, and Ba`thist Iraq, the authors explore different forms and interpretations of working-class identity, action, and organization as expressed in language, culture, and behavior. In addition, they examine different narratives of labor history and the place of workers in their respective national histories.

Included are articles by Feroz Ahmad, Assef Bayat, Joel Beinin, Edmund Burke III, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Eric Davis, Ellis Goldberg, Kristin Koptiuch, Zachary Lockman, Marsha Pripstein Posusney, Donald Quataert, and Sherry Vatter.

The book provides not only an introduction to the "state of the field" in Middle East working-class history but also demonstrates how that field is being influenced by the new paradigms which are transforming labor history and social history more broadly worldwide. It also opens the way for fruitful comparisons among Middle Eastern countries and between the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Zachary Lockman is Associate Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University.


"Besides its contribution to Middle Eastern studies, this collection will serve those interested in comparative labor history and teachers who wish to expand the focus of their classes beyond the formal political and economic content of most texts on Middle Eastern history. Taken together, the articles contain considerable and provocative research. Further, the attempt to present labor history side by side (or in some cases, interwoven) with a historiographic critique is an ambitious and valuable project. " — Palmira Brummett, University of Tennessee