Vol.7, No.1 | [Articles] A Matrix for Mediterranean (Area) Studies – Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach in the Post-"Arab Spring" Context




The multipolar, dynamic and heterogeneous Mediterranean area is an object of analysis in different disciplines. The French historian Fernand Braudel developed one of the most comprehensive scientific approaches, defining the Mediterranean as a space of unity and coherence, with a long-term continuity (longue durée). Studies in political science, especially in international relations (IR), have been limited to debates between schools of thought, explaining global challenges, or using local case studies for theoretical testing. Work in area studies has been reduced to (comparative) analysis of local specificities. The fundamental changes within the societies of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean provoked by the uprisings since the end of 2010 call for new scientific approaches in Mediterranean Studies. By combining IR and area studies, and by simultaneously analysing large-scale developments (macro) and smaller, local, sub-regional developments (micro), we can not only explore the interdisciplinary dynamics in social sciences, but also place the Mediterranean area within the international system, and deepen our knowledge about its specificities at the same time.

Keywords : Mediterranean Studies, Area Studies, Arab Spring, Euro-Mediterranean Relations, Interdisciplinarity