Much has been written about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings of 2011, with particular attention paid to social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or blogging, and the extent to which it contributed to organizing the mass protests. Another recurring theme of the analysis of the uprisings was the role played by women, with Western media in particular emphasizing their contributions and debating whether this marked a pronounced increase in women’s agency. My article seeks to respond to these issues through an analysis of two Egyptian women’s blogs. Instead of contributing to the well-known debate about the internet’s capabilities for facilitating action, I examine how blogs observe resistance, exploring this through notions of digital testimony and autobiography. I then consider the issue of solidarity and whether this is gendered, which is an important issue to consider in light of the focus placed on women’s roles during the protests. Ultimately I aim to demonstrate that these Egyptian women’s blogs offer us new and productive ways of thinking about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings and the autobiographical act, leading us to acknowledge the complexities of both solidarity and articulations of selfhood.
Testimony and Solidarity in Egyptian Women's Blogs
Revisiting 'the margins' as an illuminating conceptual space analogous to, yet distinct from, the exception, this article explores the Arab Spring from its margins to highlight 'silencing effects' that, if they underpin the problematic notions of the Arab Spring and Arab exceptionalism, assume spectacular dimensions at the margins, namely, the 'disappearance' of an uprising. The disputed territory of Western Sahara, partially annexed by Morocco since 1975, saw an unprecedented uprising in October-November 2010. Annexed Western Sahara's uprising narrowly preceded Tunisia's, conventionally recognized as the first of the Arab Spring. Despite Sahrawis' perceptions of similarities between their uprising and the Arab Spring, Western Sahara's uprising is overlooked in most analyses of the Arab Spring. 'Silencing effects' obscure these similarities and, ultimately, the uprising itself.
The Neoliberal Mexican State and the Chiapas Uprising
The neoliberal state, this article argues, displays structural contradictions between the need to create economic stability and the demand to display democratic structures where the human rights of the citizens are respected. As the discourse of human rights is increasingly used also by marginalized groups, the apparent convergence in human rights objectives may be a dangerous illusion.
The Ecuadorian indigenous movement emerged just as the binaries that once defined the Indian/white boundary became acknowledged internal polarities of indigenous society. In this article, I argue that these divergences energized indigenous communities, which built material infrastructure, social networks, and political capital across widening gaps in values and incomes. They managed this task through a kind of vernacular statecraft, making the most of list making, council formation, and boundary drawing. As the movement shifts into electoral politics, the same community politics that launched it now challenges the national organization. As they work to define a coherent national program, the principal organizations of the national movement must reproduce the local contacts and relations among communities that made Ecuador's indigenous pluriculturalism such a potent presence in the 1990s.
Wendy Lynne Lee
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Lake, Osprey Orielle. 2010. Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press.
Suzuki, David, and David R. Taylor. 2009. The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet. Vancouver, Canada: Greystone Books.
Repatriation Narratives and Ritual Performances
Stein R. Mathisen
The backdrop for the events discussed in this article is the Kautokeino rebellion in 1852, a violent uprising wherein a group of indigenous Sámi attacked and killed representatives of the local Norwegian authorities. This led to death sentences for two Sámi men who participated in the uprising. While their bodies were buried outside the local church, their decapitated heads were sent away, became objects of research, and ended up in scientific collections. Tracing the intricate movements of these skulls, as well as subsequent indigenous struggles for their repatriation and reburial, the focus here is on the ceremonies arranged in the course of these actions. The ceremonies depart from different narratives and myths connected to these historical events. Contextualization is important to understand how a multitude of different interests and strategies are invested, resulting in different understandings and interpretations in these contemporary ceremonies of repatriation and reburial.
Osvaldo Croci and Marco Valigi
The uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of the “Arab
Spring,” a wave of demonstrations that began at the end of 2010 and
led, in a short space of time, to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and
Egypt; uprisings in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain; and street protests in a
number of other Arab countries. Following the collapse of the ruling
administrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt on 14 January and 11
February, respectively, street protests against Gaddafi began in Libya.
The violent reaction of the Libyan regime led to uprisings throughout
the country. On 27 February, anti-Gaddafi forces established a provisional
government, known as the National Transitional Council (NTC),
in Benghazi. The ensuing civil war resulted in the intervention of a
NATO-led coalition to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council
Resolution 1973, which provided for the establishment of a no-fly zone
to protect civilians. From their stronghold in eastern Libya, the anti-
Gaddafi forces, aided by NATO air cover and air strikes, slowly took
control of the rest of the country. They captured Tripoli on 28 August
and then moved against the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces in northeastern
Libya. Gaddafi’s last stand in his hometown of Sirte ended on 20
October, when he was captured and killed.
Algeria and the French Revolution of 1848
Jennifer E. Sessions
This article examines the key role of the French colony in Algeria in the political culture of the Revolution of 1848. Eugène Cavaignac and other army officers with Algerian experience led the state's repression of radical unrest, and their colonial backgrounds became a central narrative trope in debates about political violence in France, especially after the June Days uprising. Following the closure of the National Workshops, legislators adopted a major scheme for working-class emigration to and settlement in Algeria to replace the workshops and resolve unrest. Throughout 1848, Algeria operated as a symbolic and practical field for the struggle between social and political revolution in France.
If the Resistance as a whole is part of French identity, the different types of resistance, among them that of women, do not benefit from the same status. On the contrary, official commemorations of the Resistance are based upon two implicit statements: that the Resistance and the nation are somewhat equivalent— the Resistance being viewed as the uprising of the whole nation—and that to differentiate among the resisters would go against the very principles of the Resistance, its universalism, its refusal to make any distinction in race or origin. The assimilationism that is part of the ideology of the French Republic hinders the recognition of particularisms, whether regional, cultural or gendered.
Corinna Mullin and Ian Patel
Th is article discusses the politics of “transition” in Tunisia and locates Tunisia’s post-uprising justice initiatives within existing critical literature on global liberal governance and transitional justice. Methodologically, it treats transitional justice as a site of contestation, involving the exercise of domestic and transnational strategies of power as well as the oft en subversive agency of former and ongoing victims of state crime. By examining noninstitutionalized forms of contestation, this article seeks to understand and contextualize the fears expressed by some victims that the formal transitional justice process may be a diversion from, rather than bridge to, revolutionary aims.