This talk is based on the speakers’ recently published edited volume The Unfinished Arab Spring: Micro-Dynamics of Revolts between Change and Continuity. Adopting an original analytical approach in explaining various dynamics at work behind the Arab revolts and giving voice to local dynamics and legacies rather than concentrating on debates about paradigms, we highlight micro-perspectives of change and resistance as well as of contentious politics that are often marginalized and left unexplored in favor of macro-analyses. First, we re-examine the stories of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Algeria through diverse and novel perspectives, looking at factors that have not yet been sufficiently underlined but carry explanatory power for what has occurred. Second, rather than focusing on macro-comparative regional trends – however useful they might be – we focus on the particularities of each country, highlighting distinctive micro-dynamics of change and continuity.
Fatima el Issawi is a Reader in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on the intersection between media, politics and conflicts in transitional contexts to democracy in North Africa. She is the Principal Investigator for the research project “Media and Transitions to Democracy: Journalistic Practices in Communicating Conflicts- the Arab Spring” funded by the British Academy Sustainable Development Programme, looking at media’s impact on communicating political conflicts in post uprisings in North Africa. Since 2012, el Issawi has been leading empirical comparative research projects on the interplay between media and political change, funded by Open Society Foundation and the Middle East Centre/LSE, covering Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria. El Issawi’s expertise crosses journalism, public communication, policy and academia. She has over fifteen years of experience as international correspondent in conflict zones in the MENA region. She is the author of “Arab National Media and Political Change” investigating the complex intersections between traditional journalists and politics in uncertain times of transitions to democracy.
Francesco Cavatorta is full professor of political science and director of the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur l’Afrique et le Moyen Orient (CIRAM) at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. His research focuses on the dynamics of authoritarianism and democratization in the Middle East and North Africa. His current research projects deal with party politics and the role of political parties in the region. He has published numerous journal articles and books.