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Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa

by Joel Beinin Frédéric Vairel

The Middle East and North Africa have become places that almost everyone "knows" something about. Too frequently written off as culturally defined by Islam, strongly anti-Western, and uniquely susceptible to irrational political radicalism, authoritarianism, and terrorism-these regions are rarely considered as sites of social and political mobilization. However, this new volume reveals a rich array of mobilizations that neither lead inexorably toward democratization nor degenerate into violence. These case studies of Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are inspired by social movement theory, but also critique and expand the horizons of the theory's classical concepts of political opportunity structures, collective action frames, mobilization structures, and repertoires of contention through intensive fieldwork. This strong empirical base allows for a nuanced understanding of contexts, culturally conditioned rationality, the strengths and weaknesses of local networks, and innovation in contentious action in a region where, with the exception of Turkey, there was little sign of broad-based movements for democratization until the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings of 2010-11.

Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa, Second Edition

by Joel Beinin Frédéric Vairel

Before the 2011 uprisings, the Middle East and North Africa were frequently seen as a uniquely undemocratic region with little civic activism. The first edition of this volume, published at the start of the Arab Spring, challenged these views by revealing a region rich with social and political mobilizations. This fully revised second edition extends the earlier explorations of Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and adds new case studies on the uprisings in Tunisia, Syria, and Yemen. The case studies are inspired by social movement theory, but they also critique and expand the horizons of the theorys classical concepts of political opportunity structures, collective action frames, mobilization structures, and repertoires of contention based on intensive fieldwork. This strong empirical base allows for a nuanced understanding of contexts, culturally conditioned rationality, the strengths and weaknesses of local networks, and innovation in contentious action to give the reader a substantive understanding of events in the Arab world before and since 2011.

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