This piece concerns civil society as conceptualised in Khatami’s book Islam, Dialogue and Civil Society, and in a wider sense the Dialogue among Civilisations and Cultures paradigm and the UN year of Dialogue among Civilisations (2001). In this particular text, Khatami discusses civil society in relation to de-colonising spaces, with particular references to West Asia, the Islamic world and the ‘West.’ However, his discussion bears relevance to other spaces with experience of colonial imperial domination and occupation, historically and contemporarily. While first published a decade before the Arab Spring, it bears relevance also to the clamours for political participation and social development, which so pervaded the risings in West Asia and North Africa, including the oft forgotten Sudan. In this particular discussion of civil society, the focus is on showing the global relevance of Khatami’s conceptualisation of civil society as it emanates from the Dialogue among Cultures and Civilisations initiative, in a world where strategic disorder seems to be an increasing answer to resistance practices following local demands for political participation as well as independence from Western political economic structures of dominance—i.e. in spaces attempting to decolonise.
This paper critically engages with nonviolent activism and resistance in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. By placing nonviolent direct actions directly in the context of its violent surrounding, it will be argued that structural and symbolic violence can be present in nonviolent actions and that unequal power relations can therewith be reproduced. Certain nonviolent actions in Israel and Palestine, this paper poses, mirror or even enable the injustices they initially seek to oppose.
Based on nineteen months of fieldwork research in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories including annexed East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza, this paper provides a ethnographic description of a so called joint Palestinian-Israeli nonviolent action near the Gaza Strip. The ethnographic detail enables an analysis which reveals 1) how unequal power relations can be reproduced within nonviolent protests, and 2) how certain nonviolent protests can perpetuate the structural violence they initially seek to oppose. The primary aim of this paper is not to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ activism or resistance perse. It does aim to show how meticulous attention to less visible forms of violence can deepen our understanding of the reproduction of power and structural violence within nonviolent protest.
The social mobilization (Hirak in Arabic) started in Lebanon on 17.10.2019 has been an unprecedented event in the modern history of Lebanon, for it has lasted for more than half a year, but most importantly, for being a cross-sectarian and cross-regional mobilization in state based primarily on sectarian structure and on a sectarian-based sharing of power. The present mobilization has put the foundations of the Lebanese regime at stake. This article attempts to trace Hezbollah’s reaction by following the trail of the speeches held by the organization’s secretary-general about the mobilization in the first two months, as Hezbollah is the main force largely dominating the Lebanese regime, and how the present mobilization has rendered Hezbollah the main advocate for a regime which Hezbollah (at its outset) sought to uproot. The article demonstrates that Hezbollah is somewhat ‘embarrassed’ at the grassroot level, for its muqawama
(Resistance) project would seem deficient unless it provides all the Lebanese with a clear-cut answer regarding the socioeconomic situation, something that the party has not done yet.
What is conflictual interaction? How does it differ from domination? And how can domination and violence be disrupted by nonviolent direct action? In this article, I will theorize conflictual and violent interaction as interaction rituals and discuss how nonviolence can disrupt these rituals or change the dynamics hereof. Hence, I show how resistance studies and activists can benefit from understanding the situational power of nonviolence. Having described Randall Collins’ notion of interaction rituals, I proceed to theorize domination and conflict interaction rituals, the ingredients and outcomes hereof, and how conflict rituals can vary in intensity. I challenge Collins’ argument that violence and conflict go against the tendency to become entrained with others and argue that violence and conflict actually characterize a new pattern of interaction in which the parties mirror each other’s actions. Subsequently, using cases from the Arab Spring as examples, I argue that violence can be a form of both conflictual and domination interaction rituals. Finally, I show how nonviolence can be used to alter the rhythm of interaction in domination rituals and potentially reinforce a new rhythm both through actions of fraternization and more direct acts of resistance and noncompliance. In so doing, I engage with Evelin Lindner’s concept of Mandela-like qualities as the ability to resist domination and analyze situations from Bahrain, where activists have disrupted domination rituals nonviolently. I conclude by emphasizing the added value of the micro-sociological perspective for challenging structural and direct violence manifested in particular situations.
In a 2011 interview, then-Vice President Omar Suleiman declared that Egyptians are not ready for democracy, in response to mass anti-regime protests around Egypt. More peculiarly, protesters have been accused of trying to implement foreign (western) agendas, being perverts and homosexuals, and disrupting domestic cohesion. Discourses that attach deviance—ascribed as a western attribute—to open resistance have since prevailed. This article argues that the historical imagination of the evils of westernisation, delegitimises the revolution and its revolutionaries, while at the same time reproduces the figure of the monolithic normative (Honourable) Egyptian citizen, as docile and counterrevolutionary. In employing figuration as a method, I examine the emergence of the figure of the Egyptian Male Homosexual through the 2001 Queen Boat incident and argue that the mobilisation of figures of deviance acts as a counterrevolutionary technology that long preceded revolution. I suggest that rather than designate failure to the revolution, we should look elsewhere for the new potential for a resistance that disrupts these figurations and their effects. Through a counter-conduct analytic, the article posits that local human rights work is undertheorized as an important space to contest the power that conducts and encourages resistance.
This paper argues that some women in Cairo, Egypt are part of a feminist ‘social nonmovement’ that predates the 2011 revolution, where they ‘make scenes’, i.e. commit acts of everyday feminist resistance, by defying patriarchal control over their bodies and behavior in public space independently from one another, spurred by patriarchal oppression for most, and participation in the revolution for some. Through interviews with twelve Cairene women in 2017, I investigate how and why they defy the social norms governing women’s use of public spaces and investigate the role of the 2011 revolution in their different forms of feminist defiance. I analyze three acts of public feminist resistance: women removing the hijab, defying street harassment, and moving out of their parents’ and husbands’ homes. My findings contribute to the literature on recent Egyptian women’s feminist resistance specifically, and everyday resistance studies in general. Only a quarter of my participants identify the revolution as the main reason for their feminist epiphany and resistance.
Books for reviews should be sent to:
The Journal of Resistance Studies is published by:
with the support of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.