Debating the Post-2011 Middle East, Old or New Paradigms?

Science 608, Byblos campus/ Video conference Nicol 222, Beirut campus

The Department of Social Sciences and the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution are hosting a roundtable discussion titled “Debating the Post-2011 Middle East: Old or New Paradigms?” and presented by James Worrall from School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds and Alam Saleh from Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

At the onset of the 2011 revolutions, Middle East scholars questioned previous paradigms adopted to study the Middle East (e.g. authoritarian resilience/robustness. New paradigms focusing on social movements and the importance of ‘peripheral’ social actors were (re)explored. Several scholars suggested revisiting democratization theories in the context of the unfolding Arab transitions.

No sooner did the Arab Spring take a rather ‘disenchanting trajectory’ marked by state decline and/or collapse then the scholarly discourse changed. Emphasis is placed once again on the resilience of authoritarianism, the weakness of institutions and the fragility of social contracts. An arising question is whether we should readopt pre-2011 theoretical frameworks or whether new paradigms are needed to account for the post-2011 transformations. The emerging landscape is indeed characterized by new features: forced displacement crises, radicalization movements, state fragmentation, and regional polarization. This roundtable discussion will unpack such dilemmas and questions.

This event occurs in the context of an earlier discussion on the topic in the framework of Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury’s course on Political Theory in Byblos (POL 210).

A videoconference will simultaneously take place in Nicol Hall 222, Beirut campus.