There was something of a dress rehearsal “Arab Spring” in early 2005, after which a ruling bargain emerged between the governed and those governing aimed at consolidating state-society relationships and maintaining various forms of authoritarian rule. In broad terms, this implicit bargain under-writing political rule has been one in which citizens surrender their political and social rights to participatory government, are expected to accept the legitimacy of the ruling regime, however begrudgingly, and in return are rewarded with a variety of goods and services, most of them tangible but some also intangible, as well as socio-economic benefits. While much of the academic literature has been devoted to the durability of these ruling bargains, current events would indicate that inadequate attention has been given to the potential causes of their erosion. The chapters in this volume probe some of the existing analytical assumptions and develop a new understanding of the drivers of the historic change in the Middle East beginning in late 2010 and early 2011.
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