The Mediterranean space, defined by a major sea, a large number of littoral countries and to some extent their hinterlands, is at the same time an interface between Europe, Africa and Asia. This brings complex challenges in terms of achieving peace and stability. Recently it has received intense international attention through the internal destructiveness and spill-over from conflicts, primarily those waged in Libya, Syria and, more remotely, Iraq.

This Handbook provides an overview of the political processes that shape the Mediterranean region in the contemporary context. It explores the issues of crucial importance to Mediterranean dynamics through a series of analytical sections that guide the reader towards a comprehensive understanding of the main regional interactions and trends.

The Handbook explores:

  • the complex historical formation of the contemporary Mediterranean
  • geopolitical perspectives
  • issues around peace and conflict
  • the political economy of the region
  • the role of non-state actors and social movements
  • societal and cultural trends.

The wide range of contributions from many of the leading academic experts on the region offers not only insights into the debates and processes that structure each theme, but also key pointers for a more general understanding of how distinct political, economic, social and cultural dynamics interact across the region. It will therefore be a key resource for policy-makers and students and scholars of Mediterranean politics and international relations.

chapter 1|10 pages


The growing international relevance of Mediterranean politics

part I|72 pages

Historical constructions

chapter 3|13 pages

Historical/geopolitical turning points in the modern Mediterranean

Cold War, post-Cold War and Arab Spring 1

chapter 4|13 pages

Regionalism and the Mediterranean

Long history, odd partners

chapter 6|12 pages

From imperialism to failed liberal peace

How Europe contributed to MENA’s failing states system and how MENA blowback threatens Europe

part II|60 pages

Geopolitical perspectives

part III|75 pages

Peace and conflict

chapter 13|12 pages

The Mediterranean observes the world, the world observes the Mediterranean

Conflict and peace in the Mediterranean

chapter 17|13 pages

Do regional organizations contribute to security?

Perspectives on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation

chapter 18|11 pages

Regime resilience and the Arab uprisings in the southern Mediterranean

Four emerging approaches for explaining authoritarian persistence

part IV|73 pages

Political economy

chapter 19|11 pages

Beyond state and market

Development strategies in the Arab world

chapter 22|13 pages

Minding development gaps in EU Mediterranean policies

A variegated neoliberalization thesis?

part V|63 pages

Non-state actors and social movements

chapter 27|11 pages

Islamist movements in the Mediterranean

Modernist Islam, Islamism and Salafism

chapter 28|11 pages

Women’s movements within Euro-Mediterranean politics

The need to go beyond ‘the Arab woman’

part VI|51 pages

Societal and cultural trends

chapter 31|11 pages

Digital communications and social networks

Co-evolution of digital activism and repression during the Arab Uprisings

chapter 32|12 pages

Mediterranean migrants and refugees

Historical and political continuities and discontinuities

chapter 33|14 pages

Intercultural dialogue across the Mediterranean troubled waters

Challenges to the Anna Lindh Foundation