Stop Thinking of Only the "Arab World"tags: Middle East, Arab Spring, revolutions, Egyptian Revolution, Bassam S. Haddad
Bassam S. Haddad is director of the Middle East Studies program at George Mason University.
For now, most serious treatments of the Arab uprisings will remain inadequate from a historical perspective, including this one! The first objective is to avoid the outlandish or lazy analytical treatments that proceed from some idiosyncratic political or cultural essence, and/or those monist approaches that reduce outcomes to one variable. There is no place for either sort of reductionism in serious political or historical inquiry. The second objective is to recognize the limits of our ability as analysts in pinning down the right mixture of weighted variables in explaining revolutionary outcomes. But explanatory despair should not be the takeaway from these precautions. The trick is gradually to refine the conversation on the question of causes. Revolutions, or uprisings, are not a science -- even according to Political Scientists! We simply can’t predict them, but we surely can do much better than the outlandish and the monist.
Before addressing some complex factors, we must disembody the notion of the “Middle East” or even the “Arab World,” as we often speak of the uprisings across the region in monolithic terms. But “Arab World” should not be the unit of analysis. True, there are enduring cultural commonalities that created the demonstration or domino effect, and limited such effect to the Arab world, but this is where the commonality ends. To develop a deeper understanding of the uprisings, we must address them on a case-by-case basis, starting from the historical and proceeding to the social, political, and economic factors.
comments powered by Disqus
- Did Squanto meet Pocahontas in London?
- Thanksgiving: Early Colonists Ate Turkey... But Also Horses, Rats And Snakes, Archaeologists Say
- Sources: McMaster Mocked Trump’s Intelligence at a Private Dinner
- The JFK assassination files lead back to Seattle
- Princeton investigates its connection to slavery at a two-day symposium
- OAH historians say events of the past year show they were right to emphasize freedom as the theme of the 2019 annual convention
- Why being a historian is about so much more than producing displays for museums
- Historian Says Textbooks Have Shaped Our Attitudes On Race
- Heather Ann Thompson says what went on at Attica is worse than we thought
- Princeton’s Jan T. Gross warns that Poland’s showing signs of turning decisively in a fascist direction