The Urban Roots of the Arab Spring

18 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2014

Date Written: April 20, 2014


Demonstrations in the Arab spring were successful in affecting the tenure of incumbent authoritarian rulers where they occurred in national capitals that were also primate cities. The outstanding examples are Tunis and Cairo. Where the national capital was not a primate city street demonstrations had limited effects or failed to oust incumbents as in Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. In such instances incumbents were more likely to be ousted by civil war than relatively peaceful urban uprising.

Keywords: Arab spring, authoritarian, Tunis, Cairo, urban uprising, civil war, revolution

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Ellis, The Urban Roots of the Arab Spring (April 20, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Ellis Goldberg (Contact Author)

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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