Bread, freedom, human dignity : the political economy of protest mobilization in Egypt and Tunisia
Title: Bread, freedom, human dignity : the political economy of protest mobilization in Egypt and Tunisia
Author: WARKOTSCH, Jana
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2015
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The thesis analyzes the interaction between authoritarian rule, and societal mobilization by focusing on the two uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt /.../ When the Arab spring started in the marginalized interior areas of Tunisia and spread to the densely populated capital of Egypt, removing two of the longest-standing dictators in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it left observers and scholars with many puzzles to solve. After all, this was a region studied for its sturdy resistance to pressures for democratization. Scholars who had predominantly been occupied with understanding the unusual stability of Middle Eastern autocracies suddenly found themselves in need to explain the opposite – their unexpected vulnerability in the face of popular resistance. Their theories it seemed, were ill equipped for the task. Emerging out of the democratization-focused transitions literature, authoritarianism studies had in recent years departed from asking how institutions could push along democratization, to focus instead on how even seemingly democratic institutions could provide authoritarian regimes with stability and longevity. Their analysis thus heavily leaned on understanding elite coalitions and the institutions – formal or informal – that ensured regime maintenance. When scholars tried to understand the role of political opposition forces under authoritarian rule, it was mostly in the framework of either their lack of role or their (unwilling) support of authoritarian rule. The masses over which these regimes ruled, however, only rarely put in an appearance. It does therefore not come as a surprise that authoritarianism studies should have missed the widespread grievances brewing within Middle Eastern societies.
Defence date: 13 May 2015; Examining Board: Professor Donatella della Porta, (EUI Supervisor); Professor Philippe Schmitter, European University Institute; Professor Jeff Goodwin, New York University; Professor Emma Murphy, Durham University.
Type of Access: openAccess