This research paper offers a different institutional approach to studying state-societal relations in modern Yemen. The re-conceptualization of the terms - tribe and tribalism- paved the path for a deeper investigation of the interaction between the state and the tribe. The rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh (1978-2011) was the timeline dissected in this detailed comparative historical analysis. This study unveiled the prominence of tribalism as an informal institution that governed state-societal relations in Yemen. The outcome derived out of these formal-informal interactions suggests that the tribe in Yemen is neither a friend nor a foe, but locates tribalism as a – complementary, substituting, accommodating, or competing- informal institution. The rise and demise of President Saleh displayed how tribalism can yield converging and diverging outcomes. This intriguing result encourages further research and investigation of tribalism as an informal institution shaping the political life in Yemen.


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Graduation Date

Spring 6-11-2020

Submission Date

June 2020

First Advisor

Kazziha, Walid

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Elnur, Ibrahim

Committee Member 2

Kassem, Maye

Committee Member 3



105 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Political Science


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item

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