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The Arab SpringPathways of Repression and Reform$
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Jason Brownlee, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660063.001.0001

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Theorizing the Arab Spring

Theorizing the Arab Spring

Chapter:
(p.18) 1 Theorizing the Arab Spring
Source:
The Arab Spring
Author(s):

Jason Brownlee

Tarek Masoud

Andrew Reynolds

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660063.003.0002

This chapter describes both cases of uprisings and of authoritarian breakdowns in the Arab Spring. It outlines ‘actor-based’ approaches to explaining the events and institutional variance theories before giving a review of the major works in the field to date. Contrary to the picture painted by some in the media, most Arab countries did not witness extraordinary social upheaval. In Morocco, Algeria, and nearly all Gulf monarchies, protests were limited in number and scope, and they did not concentrate political disaffection on incumbent rulers. There were authoritarian breakdowns, or revolutions, in a few countries but the range of outcomes shows that many of the variables used to explain autocratic resilience remain valid. When leaders were ousted actors challenged authoritarianism with new tools but under historically shaped circumstances.

Keywords:   uprisings, revolutions, authoritarian breakdowns

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