Bitter Brethren: Freud’s Narcissism of Minor Differences and the Gulf Divide
Al-Hashemi builds on Freud’s concept of the narcissism of small differences in this chapter showing how the regimes of the Gulf have in recent years tried to foster top-down identity building as a means to attain socio-political legitimacy. While in the past, national identity in the Gulf was defined consensually in reference to wider Gulf identity, efforts to invent new senses of communal belonging are often antagonistic in character vis-à-vis neighbouring communities. As the first crisis in the Gulf exceeding the boundaries of a feud between royal families, the 2017 Crisis can be defined as the first truly public crisis polarizing the people of the Gulf along previously defined national narratives. Although outsiders might argue there is more between the Gulf States that unites them than divides them, the 2017 Gulf Crisis has arguably driven a wedge not just between the states but the people of the Gulf.