Article

Arab Spring

Marion W. Dixon

in African Studies

ISBN: 9780199846733
Published online September 2018 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0204
Arab Spring

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The term “Arab Spring” refers to the wave of protests that swept across the Arab world beginning in December 2010 and lasting roughly through the spring of 2011. These events are referred to by other names as well, such as the Arab uprisings, the Arab Awakening, and the Arab Revolution. The protests represented cross-class popular mobilizations and were united in demanding the end of ruling coalitions. A common slogan of the protestors in Arabic was Ash-sha’b yurid isqat an-nizam (The people want to bring down the regime). The popular uprisings began in Tunisia after the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a young street vendor, in protest against the authorities for undermining his livelihood. The protests quickly resulted in the exile of the long-time president Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali. Soon after, protests spread to Egypt (25 January), Syria (26 January), Yemen (27 January), Bahrain (14 February), Libya (17 February), and Morocco (20 February). The immediate outcomes of the protests across the region varied considerably—from the forced resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on 11 February to the escalation of violent conflict in Syria. The immediate outcomes of the Arab Spring beyond the region were more decisive, with popular protests spreading throughout Europe (and Chile) by the summer of 2011. This “Occupy movement” that occupied public squares and the streets, like the protests in the Arab world, was unified by a common opposition to wealth inequality and the ruling classes, and it spread throughout North America in the fall of 2011. In the years that followed, popular protests continued to spread to other parts of South America, parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Hong Kong, and Turkey. In the Arab world, by the fifth anniversary, the popular uprisings resulted in little in terms of democratization, however. Counterrevolutions led to a retraction of rights and a deterioration of well-being, with, for example, the growing political power of Islamists, the reinstatement of military rule (as in Egypt), and ongoing civil wars in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. As a result, the “post–Arab Spring” period has been referred to as the Arab Winter or the Islamic Winter. Of the hundreds if not thousands of works on the Arab Spring and its aftermath, this article focuses on books and edited volumes, and to a lesser extent on scholarly articles, film, and online sources. Also, many of the references cited address the Arab Spring as a whole or offer multiple or comparative case studies, although there are works included that are country case studies. Some works are in Arabic.

Article.  11548 words. 

Subjects: African History ; African Languages ; African Music ; African Philosophy ; African Studies

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