Editor: Craig Brown
2020 will mark ten years since the 2010/11 West Asia North Africa (WANA) Revolutions began, thus marking a good opportunity to appraise their forms of resistance a decade on. With the significant amount of new experiences and empirical data emerging from this period, there is a need to reflect on the theoretical and practical implications of these events, particularly in terms of established models of revolution, regime change and resistance.
Early explanations of the so-called Arab Spring tended to focus on the nonviolent dynamics of mass protests and occupations as part of the revolutionary processes, as well as being events perceived to have taken many people by surprise as ‘spontaneous’ phenomena. Relevant literature has started to explore and understand the more complex and long history of resistance to authoritarian regimes in the region, although there is much work required on the varied facets of resistance in the WANA context.
There are significant reasons to explore resistance during the 2010/11 WANA revolutions related to framing and narratives of the events, which can reflect some common focuses: on violent conflicts such as those in Yemen, Syria and Libya; authoritarian retrenchment and resilience as in Egypt or Bahrain; ‘exceptional’, ‘democratic success stories’ such as Tunisia. A further predominant concern in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring has been the connection of those events to the increased terrorism threat and Isis in particular. Yet all of these assumptions and narratives deserve critical analysis through a concerted engagement with the characteristics of the different countries’ movements and uprisings. Enduring forms of resistance in the countries noted above, as well as recent sustained mass protests such as in Algeria and Sudan, all point to an ongoing period of resistance under the so-called ‘Arab Spring’.
Accordingly, various broad trends of resistance could be counterposed as a basis of further inquiry. Established courses of resistance to authoritarianism can be traced over at least several decades in various countries in the region, including both everyday and more overt and organised forms of resistance. Efforts towards deeper ‘social revolution’ and constructive resistance were made in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, despite some impressions that the focus was on simply removing the dictator. Moreover, the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ indicates a somewhat homogenous process, whereas the country and culturally-specific contexts of the different uprisings are also significant to explore. In terms of narrative, Hamid Dabashi’s (2012) Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism proposed the revolutions challenge many of the stereotypes of the region and its people, suggesting the potential of the events to resist and redefine entire paradigms of thought.
Ultimately then, original research papers may be submitted focusing on numerous aspects of resistance in the WANA region, including but not limited to:
- Aspects of nonviolent resistance;
- The relationship of violent and nonviolent resistance (e.g. as ‘full spectrum’ or ‘hybrid’ resistance, or rioting)
- Constructive resistance;
- Everyday resistance;
- Feminist resistance;
- Resistance within regime ‘pillars of support’ (e.g. the military);
- Regime responses to resistance;
- Challenges to common narratives regarding the so-called Arab Spring;
- Country-specific analyses or comparisons of resistance movements across the West Asia and North Africa region;
- Post-2011 continuation of resistance in the West Asia North Africa region;
- Historical development of resistance in specific countries or across the region;
- Connections of the 2010/11 events to contemporaneous uprisings, for example the recent removal of President Bouteflika in Algeria, as well as President al-Bashir in Sudan;
- Connections of the 2010/11 events to other resistance phenomena internationally;
- Academic-activist accounts of the events in their country of participation;
- The use of humour as resistance;
- Critical perspectives on technology and resistance;
- Ecological struggles and development of the environmental movement;
- Indigenous resistance struggles;
- Resistance to neoliberal economic institutions and policies;
- External opposition and support for resistance.
Abstracts should be 500 – 750 words (references not included). Send abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts by: 15 December 2019
Notification of acceptance: 1 January 2020
Submission of final papers: 15 March 2020
Max 12000 words (all included)