Taking to the Streets The Transformation of Arab Activism By Lina Khatib and Ellen Lust, eds. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. 368 pages.)

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Jacob Høigilt

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Abstract

This edited volume consists of ten case studies framed by an introduction
written by the two editors and a postscript written by Larry Diamond, a leading
scholar of democracy studies today. The Introduction, which places the
volume within the tradition of political sociology and political science, relates
explicitly to the study of contentious politics and social movements.
In doing so, it contributes to a trend in Middle Eastern studies that started
during the early 2000s in analyses of Islamism and that seeks to add insights
to a field that has so far been relatively neglectful of the Middle Eastern
context.
The book promises to “illuminate the concept of activism as an ongoing
process, rather than a sudden burst of defiance” (back cover) by critically examining
the ideas that the Arab Spring emerged “from nowhere” and was
driven by “tech-savvy, disgruntled youth” (p. 2). It sets out to explore the nature
of activism before, during, and after the uprisings, as well as how the ...

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