What is Happening on the Ground? A Theoretical Critical Review of the Nature and Dynamics of the 'Movements' in the So-Called 'Arab Spring' in the Light of Social Movements and Revolution Theories and Beyond

Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP), Annual Conference, 2012

16 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013

See all articles by Priscilla Álamos-Concha

Priscilla Álamos-Concha

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Students

Date Written: September 14, 2012

Abstract

Many terms have been used by scholars to define what has happened in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Many of them, such as “riots”, “protests”, “uprising”, “rebellion”, “revolution,” reflect ways to understand the phenomenon both as “causes” and “outcomes”. Thus, the contribution of this study is to explore how scholars are studying the so-called "Arab Spring", through the examination of the representations of it produced by Western or West-based scholars. What labels (terms, concepts), theories (lens, approaches, factors) have been used to "name" the phenomenon and with which purpose? To answer this question, this study maps and surveys systematically the terms used by the scholars to define and explain the "Arab Spring" in journal articles between late 2010 and middle 2012. Building upon a comprehensive database of 67 journal articles, we find that articles related to the "Arab Spring" have been softly increasing since 2011. The mapping also reveals that the “Arab Spring” remains the most frequently used label, followed by “Uprising” and “Revolution”; that the relationship Arab Spring-Revolution is the core combination of label and theory; that the explanation of the phenomenon is the core aim and that the macro regional level of analysis remains predominant, followed by case studies on Egypt.

Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, Arab Spring, Revolution, mapping, uprising, protests, unruly politics

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Álamos-Concha, Priscilla, What is Happening on the Ground? A Theoretical Critical Review of the Nature and Dynamics of the 'Movements' in the So-Called 'Arab Spring' in the Light of Social Movements and Revolution Theories and Beyond (September 14, 2012). Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP), Annual Conference, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2245274 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2245274

Priscilla Álamos-Concha (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Students ( email )

Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://uclouvain.academia.edu/Priska

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