The coda looks back to the early modern case studies presented in this volume, and highlights key findings. By documenting practices of stereotyping and studying their repercussions, these case studies demonstrate both the surprising human agency over particular stereotypes, and simultaneously the disturbing resilience of stereotyping as a mode of human interaction across the early modern period. By inviting the renowned social psychologist Sandra Jovchelovitch to co-author, we explore implications of these findings for social psychology and sociology, and for civil societies in the twenty-first century.
Religious legitimacy and the foreign policies of Saudi Arabia and Iran
Chapter 3 explores how competition in the religious domain impacts on the foreign policies of Iran and Saudi Arabia. In this chapter, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is unpacked from the perspective of claims to religious legitimacy, showing how both countries have historically relied on their own understandings of Islam to legitimise state authority, frame nationalist projects, and as a foreign policy tool. The chapter highlights how the struggle for religious competition between the two states goes beyond the Sunni–Shia schism, and translates into both geopolitical and domestic disorder. By using a comparative analysis the chapter traces the ways in which the dependence on Islam as a state tool has influenced both domestic and foreign policies in each country and, in turn, the wider Saudi–Iranian competition for regional authority.
This final chapter offers some reflections and conclusions as to how the rivalry between the two regional powers of Iran and Saudi Arabia is realised differently through time and space. Though competition and rivalry appear to predominate in the calculus of both states, shown starkly by how this has manifested in the cases explored in this volume, the authors seek to offer a less pessimistic outlook for the future of relations between the states. As key powers in a contested region, Iran and Saudi Arabia need to move towards greater accommodation and understanding of one another’s interests to secure the future peace and prosperity of the Middle East.
Yemen as a theatre for the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia
Chapter 8 looks at the case of Yemen as a theatre for the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This chapter explains how the notion of ‘sunk cost effect’ helps to explain Saudi Arabia’s inability to extricate itself from the conflict in Yemen, due to the material and reputational resources that it has expended there. In doing so, it highlights the ways in which the linkage of the Houthis to Iran by Riyadh helped frame the conflict as part of the broader rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The subsequent result of this framing has, ultimately, increased the reputational and material cost related to any possible Saudi withdrawal, whereas for Iran the involvement has had comparatively low cost materially.
Subverting stereotypes and contesting anti-Catholicism in late seventeenth-century England
This chapter focuses on attempts to control and dispute stereotypes in late-seventeenth-century England. It considers the conflicting uses of the ‘Catholic plotter’ stereotype by different groups of Protestants in the print culture of the succession crisis (1678–83). It argues that stereotypes were platforms on which wider political debates took place, not a crude means of simplifying complex political issues down to the lowest common denominator. Anti-Catholicism was a significant ideology in early modern culture, a commonplace means of defining the positive traits of a religious or political group through attention to its ‘popish’ inverse. ‘Popish’ stereotypes were consequently highly flexible and were applied to different groups as political contexts developed. Accusing each other of being ‘popish’ was a routine part of political conflict between Whigs and Tories, or Anglicans and dissenters, in this period. Attending to how each group applied ‘popery’ to its opponents demonstrates that stereotypes were not simply applied, they had to be controlled, sometimes even subverted, to control anti-Catholicism as an important moral language of political debate. This chapter considers how the images, rhetoric and motifs of ‘popish’ stereotypes were contested as a means of articulating broader political views and values.
This chapter investigates conformist Anglicanism and its global contexts in the early Enlightenment, focusing in particular on the learned writing of the travelling historians and orientalists of England and its empire. It thereby illuminates a direct historical relationship between post-Reformation stereotyping and modern British orientalism. It allows us to see that both anti-puritanism and anti-popery, directed against multiple targets in different ways by figures of varying ideological affinity, provided the basis for an Enlightenment language of religious corruption that was employed both domestically and abroad. Second, this chapter exposes the fact that the constellation of Enlightenment stereotypes with roots in post-Reformation polemic was hardly limited to the languages of priestcraft and imposture. It was equally constituted by the languages of enthusiasm and fanaticism. Third, this chapter illuminates the fact that conformist and Tory elements were just as instrumental in the emergence of the notions of priestcraft and imposture as their religious and ideological opponents were. Finally, and most importantly, this study allows us to explain how the universalisation of post-Reformation stereotyping occurred: not simply by means of intra-English stereotyping but also by the application of stereotypes that originally developed within intra-Christian contexts to all the known religions of the world.
The image of the projector (now, entrepreneur) has attracted critical attention in the history of science, mercantilism and political economy. This character, like the ‘puritan’ discussed in Chapter 2, is often associated with Ben Jonson’s city comedies, written in the first two decades of the seventeenth century. This chapter reveals that pioneers of commercial plays active from the 1580s in fact used history plays to explore the abuse of royal prerogative and other corrupt behaviours soon associated with the projector. These earlier plays exposed proto-projectors' vices and their abuse of royal power more clearly than Jonson did. Their depictions were indeed as unforgiving as Catholic attacks upon the Elizabethan regime. The Elizabethan history plays even invited the audience to detect corruptions and condemn the underlying appetite for power, profit and sex in ways anticipating the participatory politics on the eve of the Civil Wars. Far from being invented singlehandedly by Jonson, Elizabethan theatres and print industry first provided a platform for creative practices of stereotyping – collective search for an emerging pattern of problematic behaviour, and identification of causes using existing assumptions. Only then did a character-based stereotype of the projector come to be elaborated by a literary genius: Jonson.
Rethinking early modern stereotyping in the twenty-first century
Studies of early modern stereotypes have long revolved around the analysis of their contents. This volume goes beyond that, and explores stereotyping explicitly as a form of contested practice embedded in various negotiations of power. This introduction sets out this analytic perspective by surveying scholarship related to the history of mentality and popular culture – the ‘linguistic turn’ – the public sphere and the subsequent turn towards practice. Reviewing the literature lets us identify key underlying assumptions needing revision: the mobilisation of negative stereotypes had predominantly harmful effects on society; stereotyping and attendant appeals to reason contained a cure to its own escalation. To test these assumptions the introduction introduces insights from social psychology and sociology, and explains how these conceptual tools can help us bring together case studies of early modern political, religious, social and literary history, and enable us to identify the ‘dialectics of stereotyping’: stereotyping was so foundational to social life, yet so very liable to contestation and escalation, that every so often collective engagements with stereotypes ended up perpetuating or even accelerating the very processes of stereotyping. The introduction ends by reflecting upon scholarly and civic implications of this finding.
Efforts to understand the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran have produced a body of literature that can be separated into three camps. The first suggests that the rivalry is best understood through a balance of power in the Gulf. The second suggests that religion plays a prominent role in shaping the nature of the rivalry and that so-called proxy conflicts have been drawn along sectarian lines. The third suggests that a more nuanced approach is needed, drawing upon concerns about regime power and legitimacy – externally and internally – with instrumentalised use of religious difference. This chapter introduces the broader parameters of the debate around the Iran–Saudi rivalry, incorporating key works in the field to date. It also provides a historical contextualisation of this key geopolitical relationship. This introductory chapter concludes by outlining the individual chapter contributions to the volume.
Rekindling of Shia loyalty and Sunni fears in Bahrain
This chapter draws on the unique insight provided by fieldwork undertaken in Bahrain. In doing so, it offers a deep investigation into how relations between Sunnis and Shia in Bahrain are influenced by the Saudi Arabia–Iran rivalry. This chapter shows how sectarian tensions have been exacerbated by competing regional agendas and a quest for hegemony. Through interviews with a range of opposition and pro-government figures, as well as academics and analysts from across the different communities, this contribution shines much needed light on how the wider regional dynamic impacts on inter-communal relations in Bahrain.