Civil Society in the Middle East During the Arab Spring and Socio-Political Transformations of the Late 2010s and Early 2020s

Publication type Article
Status Published
Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS
Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 1

The paper analyses the development of civil society in the key Arab countries of the Greater Middle East – Egypt, Tunisia and Syria – through the 2000s and early 2020s. The research mainly focuses on identifying specific features of civic activity developing by various Islamic and Islamist organizations. Methodologically the paper utilizes a set of methods borrowed from history, sociology, Islamic studies and political science. The source base of the research includes a wide range of primary materials on the civic activity in various countries of the region and the author’s interviews conducted with politicians and public figures in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. The author identifies and analyses the key factors that led to civil society activism and the multidirectional development of civil society organisations and activism in countries in the Middle East region during the “Arab Spring” and social protests of the late 2010s and early 2020s. He carefully examines the transformation of civil society in the Arab Middle East in close relation to new socio-political developments in the West in the 2010s and 2020s and the phenomenon of growing social and political subjectivity exhibited by Muslim diasporas in Europe. The article postulates the hypothesis of the emergence of leader countries with significant influence on Islamist civil society actors in the Middle East through whose influence the “Islamic project” is reinforced as a factor structuring civic engagement in key Arab states in the Middle East.

Keywordscivil society, Middle East, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, protests, “Arab Spring”, social movements, diasporas
Publication date28.02.2023
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