(Aid and) legitimacy VII. (participation in protests)

People living in the region – except for Egypt and Tunisia – were asked about their ‘demonstrating habits’ by Arab Barometer interviewers at the beginning of Arab Spring (the interviews were conducted at various times, between Autumn 2010 and Summer 2011, in the listed countries). Results show that the most rebellious people live in Sudan and Yemen, followed by Lebanon and Palestine. Yet, even in these countries ca. 75% of the adult population has not participated in any protest (between 2007-2010/2011).
arab barometer wave II, q5022


Mainstream literature dealing with the Arab Spring demonstrators’ motivations and contemporary history of the Arab Spring analyzes the ‘explaining factors’ from various perspectives, putting emphasis on the middle class and structural transformation, the socio-economic hardships such as increasing food prices and high unemployment and the desire for regime strange or the importance of internet-based technological development. Looking at the opinion polls, however, the Arab uprisings have been widely interpreted as uprisings against political tyranny over freedom and public participation as well as against the prevalence of human rights abuses.

Further reading: Brynen Beyond the Arab Spring; Mona Christophersen, ‘Protest and reform in Jordan. Popular demand and government response, 2011 to 2012’ Fafo-report 50 (Oslo: Fafo, 2013); Sobhi Samour, ‘The Promises and Limitations of Economic Protests in the West Bank’ in Kjetil Fossheim (ed), Arab Spring. Uprisings, Powers and Interventions (New York, Berghahn, 2014).


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