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Public Event: 5 years after the Arab Spring: The Implosion of Social Moveme...
Fri 10 June 2016, 18:00 – 20:00 BST
Public Event: 5 years after the Arab Spring: The Implosion of Social Movements?
Social movements (SMs) and, more broadly, SM organisations (SMOs) are the driving force in challenging authoritarianism. They galvanize popular activism and, as such, pool the wave of opposition against autocratic regimes. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 epitomises ‘people power’. SMs spear-headed the uprisings against long-standing autocratic rulers of states in the Middle East and thus opened opportunities for democratic transformation.
Five years after protests erupted in 2011, the events invite us to review the situation of SMs. However, the timeliness of this colloquium lies not in recollecting the days when SMs challenged authoritarian regimes. Instead, the purpose of the event is to investigate the fortunes of pressure groups and SMOs in the short-lived period of democratic transition and, moreover, in the recent volatile post-Spring landscape.
Despite considerable interest in the current regional crisis, there is surprisingly little systematic research on the responsibility of SMs in successful or indeed failed democratic transitions. The short period of the Arab Spring provides rich material to explore this theme. It allows us to analyse, compare and theorise on specific empirical cases, including Islamist and secular movements that depart from the mainstream focus. Questions arise such as whether and, if so, to what extent, SMs are responsible for the failure of democratic transition in the Middle East. Moreover, what happened to SMs and SMOs five years after the Arab Spring? Did they simply implode or did they reconfigure their political activism, potentially even turning towards violence?
These questions will be explored in a conversation with Roel Meijer, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute.
This public event is part of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research Colloquium: 5 years after the Arab Spring: The Implosion of Social Movements? Full details and how to book.
Date and Time
Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street Main Building, Room 540