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Edmund Ratka

In the midst of the European Union’s (EU) unprecedented crisis and a

rapidly changing international environment, Germany is redefining its

place in Europe and in the world. Long-cherished certainties such as a

staunch commitment to European integration and to its Western allies in

general seem being called into question. Critics like the former Chancellor

Helmut Kohl or the historian Heinrich August Winkler deplore a missing

compass and “politics without a project.”1 Against this background, this

article analyses the German policy toward an issue that forcefully marked

the year 2011 and continues to transform North Africa and the Middle

East—the so-called “Arab Spring”.

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The Silent Spring

Why Pro-democracy Activity Was Avoided in Gulf Nations during the Arab Spring

Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha, and Aya Abdulhamid

individuals recognize alienation from the political system and that their participation in group activity can likely lead to a change in the allocation of public provisions ( Finkel et al. 1989 ; Gibson 1991 ). During the Arab Spring of 2010 through 2012

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Silence against Political Rape

Arab Women's Subalterniy During Political Struggles

Ola Abdalkafor

Arab Spring movements in many Arab countries revealed a gap at the heart of Arab society and politics: the large-scale subalternity of Arab women in such movements. In this essay, I hypothesize that, with few exceptions, Arab women have always avoided participation in social and political activism because of their fear of political rape – raping women as punishment during political turmoil. The essay traces the history of political rape through different stages of Arab history. The examples are taken from history, literature and international reports and they mainly cover three countries: Syria, Egypt, and Libya. These examples prove that vulnerable women’s horror at any possibility of their being sexually abused and then rejected by their families and society has always haunted them, preventing them from struggling or protesting. The essay concludes that subalternity is the only stance from which Arab women can encounter political rape. Then, the essay discusses the subalternity of Arab women in the light of the thought of the postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak. This argument leads to the contention that the silence of Arab women vulnerable to political rape should not be considered passive and that feminist theories and actions cannot be successful in supporting subaltern Arab women without the ethical responsibility theorized by Spivak as the most appropriate approach to the subaltern female. This approach entails respecting subaltern Arab women’s culture and fears and avoiding any attempt to make them copies of the European feminist self. Subaltern Arab women who are afraid of being sexually abused have the right to protect their bodies and stick to their culture while still participating in public life.

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Introduction

Creative Practices/Resistant Acts

Nesreen Hussein and Iain MacKenzie

forms that include the performed as well as the performative. Notably, the symposium was held less than two years after the first sparks of the Arab Spring were ignited in Tunisia at the end of 2010, which was followed by the revolutions that spread

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Fighting Fire with Fire

Resistance to Transitional Justice in Bahrain

Ciara O’Loughlin

protests ( BBC News 2011b ). Is Bahrain Really a Case Study of Transitional Justice? Despite joining the “Arab Spring club” on 14 February 2011, Bahrain is rarely included in considerations of transitional justice in the Middle East. Bahrain’s protesters

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Flying above Bloodshed

Performative Protest in the Scared City of Damascus

Ziad Adwan

trace in the Syrian life. There are only three state newspapers, controlled by the state. Means of communication are suspicious (the Internet and mobile phones were introduced to the Syrians in 2000). The Arab Spring encouraged a common intuition that

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Debate

Religion and Revolution

Mark Juergensmeyer, Sidharthan Maunaguru, Jonathan Spencer, and Charles Lindholm

For some decades, the religious rebellion of the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries was characterized by political violence, terrorism, and strident rhetoric. Then in 2011, the events collectively known as Arab Spring seemed to offer a new model: mass movements leading to democratic reform and electoral change. The elections of 2012 swept religious parties and leadership into office in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Is this the face of the future of religious rebellion around the world?

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Politics, Consumption, or Nihilism

Protest and Disorder after the Global Crash

Bob Jeffery, Joseph Ibrahim, and David Waddington

The years since the onset of global recession, circa 2008, have led to an unprecedented rise in discontent in societies around the world. Whether this be the Arab Spring of 2011 when popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East, or the rise of left-wing, anti-capitalist and far-right movements in the developed 'north', ranging from the Indignados in Spain, Syriza and the Golden Dawn in Greece, Le Front National in France, student movements in Quebec, or the allegedly less articulate explosion of rage characterizing the English Riots of 2011, it is clear that Fukuyama's thesis regarding the final ascendency of liberal capitalism (and its puppet regimes in the developing world) was grossly misplaced. In Badiou's (2012) terms we are witnessing 'the rebirth of history', where all bets regarding the trajectories of local and global political economies are off.

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Reforming universities in the Middle East

Trends and contestations from Egypt and Jordan

Daniele Cantini

This article addresses the core-periphery nexus by looking at some of the reform packages proposed in the 2000s in these two pivotal countries in the Middle East, Egypt and Jordan, as well as the resistances they generated. These reform packages include internationalisation and privatisation policies, as well as World Bank–sponsored programmes intended to enhance the higher education sector. These programmes are marked by a high degree of isomorphism with global trends: they belong to an unquestioned centre, with peripheries as receiving points of policies elaborated elsewhere. In this article, I examine some of the resistances they were met with in Egypt and Jordan and show how their translations were shaped by the logics of the local contexts so that they were rarely implemented. Looking at post–Arab Spring developments, the article reflects on the continuity of reform packages amidst political turmoil, and the ways in which these reforms are altering or reinforcing processes of peripheralisation.

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Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino

deep dive into the processes of contention in digital societies, through the lens of a single, meticulously researched case. This issue’s fourth article also considers contention in digital societies—namely, the Arab Spring. Charles Mitchell, Juliet