Well, it has come to my attention that this result of the study has been put to use in an "academic" article by none other than Bahrain's Minister of Culture (and the subject of a recent run-in with Bahrain's Sunni parliamentarians) Shaikha Mai bint Muhammad. The paper in question is titled "Notions of Identity in the Bahrain Unrest of 2011" (.pdf here), and it appears in a journal with which I am unfamiliar, Turkish Policy Quarterly. According to the journal's website, the article has been downloaded more than 400 times since being published on March 3, 2012.
The statistical results of my survey make it into the third paragraph of the paper, framing indeed the entire discussion. The point of this introductory section is, apparently, to dispel the "simplistic media myth[s]" surrounding the issue of Bahrain's sectarian demographics. Through these "popular media presentations," Sh. Mai observes, Bahrain is portrayed as "a divided society in which a minority Sunni power base rules over a Shiite majority," whereas she notes that "this has never been statistically proven."
Enter the findings of "an American researcher" (i.e., me):
"Interestingly, however, a recent population sampling of 500 Bahraini households by an American researcher found that the Sunni-Shiite split was 57.6 percent-42.4 percent."Thus, the larger context of the discussion as well as the presentation of the actual figures clearly suggest that my survey found, contrary to popular belief, that Sunnis in fact are a majority of the population in Bahrain, at 57.6%, with Shi'a comprising a 42.4% minority.
The only problem, then, is that this is exactly the reverse of my published findings, which is obvious enough from the graph below. The original blog post where this graph originally appeared notes explicitly (as does the full discussion in my dissertation),
"As for the findings regarding Bahrain's Sunni-Shi'i balance, then, we see this below. Bahraini Shi'is comprised 58% of my survey sample, Sunnis 42%."
Since Sha. Mai clearly did not (or chose not to) pay attention to the analysis of Bahrain's religious demographics found in my dissertation, it is likely too that she missed the following discussion, which incidentally involves her role in disseminating misinformation about Bahrain through the publication of "scholarly" books and articles.
An except from pp. 57-58, on Bahrain's suppression of scholarly works (e.g., Khuri) that conflict with the government's official "history":
The second most significant volume on the modern political history of Bahrain is undoubtedly the journals of Charles Belgrave, the British officer who served in the position of personal “advisor” to the Bahraini ruler for some thirty-one years between 1926 and 1957 and who eventually came to be known simply as “المستشار”—“the advisor” (Khuri 1980, 110). In the wake of British intervention just three years prior to replace recalcitrant ruler ‘Isa bin ‘Ali with his son Hamad, Belgrave’s appointment was meant to provide Bahrain with some measure of political continuity. At the same time, he was charged with finishing the task of modernizing the whole of the country’s outdated bureaucracy, an initiative that effectively spelled the end of the prevailing feudal estate system and one therefore strongly endorsed by ordinary Shi‘a but resisted by the ruling and wealthy elite. Belgrave’s diary, then, consists of detailed daily reports of meetings and conversations with the ruler and various state officials, observations on Bahraini society, and other quotidian affairs.So, Your Excellency, please stop manipulating the results of my research for your own purposes. Thanks. And, to the editors at Turkish Policy Quarterly, you might want to issue a correction (or retraction) for this dubious piece of "scholarship."
Like Khuri’s, this important work too is banned inside Bahrain. Or, more precisely, while selected excerpts from the diary were published in 1960 and again in 1972, the original papers are said to reside in the royal library and in any case have not been made available. Unauthorized copies of the diary somehow made their way onto the Internet in June 2009, however, and were thereafter translated, made to be published, and imported for distribution by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), itself outlawed. The printed copies were subsequently confiscated by the Ministry of Information, which informed the publisher of the government’s decision to ban the book, barring any further imports. But the damage was already done. The leaked version has persisted in the form of a massive, 2,302-page electronic document that has become required reading for the country’s political opponents, having been viewed over 7,000 times in but three years. Indeed, upon hearing of my study of Bahraini politics, my contacts repeatedly directed me to the text as a sort of prerequisite to any understanding of the local political situation.
Yet for all the controversy surrounding the Belgrave diary, and despite its constituting perhaps an embarrassing intrusion into the private lives and court politics of the ruling family, there is nothing in it that could be considered a direct attack on the Al Khalifa or that substantiates any heretofore unknown wrongdoing that must be covered up at all costs. No, the papers of Belgrave, like Tribe and State in Bahrain, are banned not for their contents per se but for what they represent: information, and more importantly the contradiction of the “official,” sanitized version of Bahraini history that the regime has worked hard to construct. Curiously, the same Minister of Information [Sha. Mai] who enacted the Belgrave ban has herself published at least two separate editions of translated excerpts from the journals, a coincidence that has led the BCHR to speculate about the completeness and accuracy of the latter volumes, and ask whether this might not help explain the ban on its own, presumably less abridged Arabic translation.
Update: Thanks to The Guardian.