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The Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia: Social, Political and Economic Transformations

One of the main debates that has surfaced in the post-Arab Uprisings era has centered on whether or not the demonstrations will lead to regime change or increased authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

 

One of the main debates that has surfaced in the post-Arab Uprisings era has centered on whether or not the demonstrations will lead to regime change or increased authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This volume rather argues that the democratization paradigm and the authoritarian resilience model neither confirm nor deny one another (pp. 13-14). It is thus one of the key academic offerings documenting the post-Uprisings era of 2011-2014 in the MENA region. The authors analyze and explain ‘what draws change,’ ‘how change happens,’ and ‘where transformations lead’ in the post-Arab Uprisings era using a comparative approach with three selected country studies: Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia (p. 20). The volume benefits from the inclusion of indexes and records, as well as drawing data from public opinion polls and surveys conducted by the Arab Transformations Survey, the Arab Barometer, the Afro Barometer, the World Value Survey, etc. One of the significant contributions of the authors, then, is their emphasis on the internal actors and factors that highlight the crisis of legitimacy and socio-economic conditions that led to the demonstrations in each Arab country, in contrast to the orthodox rhetoric of external dynamics being responsible for the events.

The authors note that in the post-2011 era, with the exception of Tunisia, most of the affected countries have not achieved the political and socio-economic reforms demanded during the public rallies. Also, while the majority of survey respondents said that ‘democracy is the best system,’ their description of democracy is more tied to socio-economic equality than to guaranteeing fundamental political and civil rights, including gender equality. This result is not a big disclosure when the expectations and demands of the protesters –struggling against corruption and calling for jobs as such– are taken into account. For instance, for Eg

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