The Arab Revolts

The Arab Revolts

Dispatches on Militant Democracy in the Middle East
Edited by David McMurray and Amanda Ufheil-Somers
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/22/2013
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-00968-5
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The 2011 eruptions of popular discontent across the Arab world, popularly dubbed the Arab Spring, were local manifestations of a regional mass movement for democracy, freedom, and human dignity. Authoritarian regimes were either overthrown or put on notice that the old ways of oppressing their subjects would no longer be tolerated. These essays from Middle East Report—the leading source of timely reporting and insightful analysis of the region—cover events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Written for a broad audience of students, policymakers, media analysts, and general readers, the collection reveals the underlying causes of the revolts by identifying key trends during the last two decades leading up to the recent insurrections.

Author Bio

David McMurray is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University. His publications include In and Out of Morocco: Migration and Smuggling in a Frontier Boomtown.

Amanda Ufheil-Somers is Assistant Editor, Middle East Report, and a member of the editorial committee of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).


“This is easily the best volume on the Arab uprisings yet published. The material is very strong and accessibly written, providing rich background on the political and economic contexts in the region prior to the uprisings as well as after the events of 2011 unfolded, based on substantive knowledge. . . .Ideal for students, policymakers, and general readers.”
 — Jillian Schwedler, University of Massachusetts

“ Written for a broad audience of students, policymakers, media analysts, and general readers, The Arab Revolts reveals the underlying causes for the Arab Spring by extending analysis back over the last two decades to investigate some of the most important historical forces leading up to the recent insurrections.”

“[T]he contributors to The Arab Revolts . . . do an excellent job of filling in some of the gaps in Western media coverage, going beyond the dominant narrative of spontaneous youthful protests, aided by the use of social media, to show a foundation of protest built over decades. . . . This is not a book written by academics for academics, but rather serves as an introduction to readers from any background. The articles are generally free from convoluted jargon or theoretical frameworks that could otherwise limit potential readership. The authors tackle complex problems, but present them in a way that is useful for scholars, teachers, students, and general readers.”
 — H-Empire

“The editors of this exceptionally well-conceptualized collection have chosen writings that complement each other well. Each section begins with the present-day situation, and the subsequent essays describe the historical background of mass protests. At the end of each section is a writing that connects the historical themes back to the modern protest movements.”
 — Against the Current

“This excellent collection of articles from Middle East Report provides an unusually deep and wide analysis of the phenomena collectively known as the Arab Spring. . . . The articles are well written and accessible to students, as well as to general readers, and hold much interest to specialists in Middle East politics as well. ”
 — Review of Middle East Studies

“For anyone trying to understand the processes of popular revolt and mechanisms of repression, The Arab Revolts is a good place to start.”
 — Anthropology of Contemporary Middle-East and Central Eurasia

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Table of Contents


I. Tunisia
1. Tunisia's Wall Has Fallen Nadia Marzouki
2. Tunisia's Post-Ben Ali Challenge: A Primer Amy Aisen Kallander
3. Authoritarianism and Civil Society in Tunisia: Back from the Democratic Brink Christopher Alexander
4. Structural Adjustment and Rural Poverty in Tunisia Stephen King
5. The Making of North Africa's Intifadas Laryssa Chomiak and John P. Entelis
6. Beyond Ghannouchi: Social Change and Islamism in Tunisia Francesco Cavatorta and Rikke Hostrup Haugbolle

II. Egypt
7. The Praxis of the Egyptian Revolution Mona El-Ghobashy
8. Worlds Apart: An Egyptian Village and the International Tourism Industry Timothy Mitchell
9. Strikes in Egypt Spread from Center of Gravity Joel Beinin and Hossam El-Hamalawy
10. Striking Back at Egyptian Workers Hesham Sallam
11. Sightings of the Egyptian Deep State Issandr El Amrani
12. Egypt’s Generals and Transnational Capital Shana Marshall and Joshua Stacher

III. Yemen
13. No Exit: Yemen's Existential Crisis Sheila Carapico
14. The Economic Dimension of Yemeni Unity Sheila Carapico
15. Cracks in the Yemeni System Sarah Phillips
16. The Snake with a Thousand Heads: The Southern Cause in Yemen Susanne Dahlgren
17. Tawakkul Karman as Cause and Effect Stacey Philbrick Yadav

IV. Syria
18. Asad’s Lost Chances Carsten Wieland
19. The Resilience of the Syrian Regime Bassam Haddad
20. The Evolution of Kurdish Politics in Syria Christian Sinclair and Sirwan Kajjo
21. Dramas of the Authoritarian State Donatella Della Ratta
22. Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime Peter Harling and Sarah Birke

V: Bahrain
23. A Revolution Paused in Bahrain Cortni Kerr and Toby Jones
24. Bahrain's Crisis Worsens Joe Stork
25. The Battle Over Family Law in Bahrain Sandy Russell Jones
26. Bahrain's Sunni Awakening Justin Gengler
27. In the Kingdom of Teargas Gregg Carlstrom