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Social movements and mobilisation typologies in the arab spring

Final Report Summary - SPRINGARAB (Social movements and mobilisation typologies in the arab spring)

The Spring Arab program’s principal objectives’ aim to:
-To enhance the scientific university exchanges concerning the social sciences between Europe and “The Arab world” in the specific context this is that of the Arab Revolts of 2011.
-To analyze the social movements liberated by that revolts in different dimensions.
-To grasp the dynamics in operation; grasp their effects and the operated changes and the occurred progress of democratization as well. The program deals also with the recession in the development of liberties.
In this regard, the program encourages the scientific exchange of both Euro-Arabian young researchers and their elders who work on the present theme. It also supports at the same time quantitative and qualitative investigations which deal with the main axes of the program. Thus, many scientific activities are organized in order to shed light on the importance of this theme. Among it, the organization of several meetings, 7 international colloquies, 14 seminars, 21 young PHD student workshops,. Moreover, the program presented and published: 6 books (three that will be edited this autumn) and over 50 articles either individual or collective and 15 dissertations and works. The program has also initiated dissemination public meetings in which the civil society takes part. The local Medias have also taken part in it.
The different works and publications have permitted to show that: At the opposite of a spontaneous sociology and the profusion of the mass Medias discourse which discover in the events which follow the death of El-Bouzizi by the protestation expansion to the same cultural era societies; and subsequently by the fall of the dictatorial government in Tunis, Egypt and then Libya, the emergence of an Arabic exceptional tendency for liberties. As a result, these societies arrived to democracy as they were excluded before. The analyses which the program put in its center of focus were developed in three dimensions. If the first one takes into account the historical perspective of the subscribed events, the second one deals with the sociological and anthropological aspect of the events which are directly related to the studied field. At last, the third dimension consists of establishing a comparative approach from other situations, contexts and countries.
Social movements in the long duration: One may observe that the social movements which affect on, by some new radical forms, the Arabic countries these last years by repertory actions and practices are not hazardous. They didn’t appear suddenly in a clear sky as some political men and analysts pretended to. They are not informed by the occurred changes in the concerned countries. In fact, the transformations are inspired by some works related to the disappointment linked to the developmental nationalism in the end of the 1970’s. The reflects of the so-called under developed countries and the rise of the identity movements are influenced by the undertaking of an unequal mondialization. The latter is subscribed and tides up in a long history of a social and a political struggle related to anti-colonial and despotic fighting.
A quantitative transformation during the last decades: A generational perspective: The space time inaugurated by the basic element of El-Bouaziz in Tunisia marks in this regard a quantitative transformation in the cultural era. If the latter can relieve invariant characteristics that can be found here and there, it is unless manifested by differently from a country to another. The differences explain the varied forms and modalities observed after the death of El-Bouzizi consist a key event which expresses the refusal and the breaking of a youth which take therefore a part in the world events by the use of the new means of diffusion. The new generation expresses hence its national emancipation by the new rituals and codes. Thus, the representations are demonstrated either by some transfers in the space world practices or by adapting other categories taken elsewhere as the Eden City found here and now.
New actors: Youth and women: The searchers who work on the revolutions take rarely into consideration the demographic data or associated phenomena as rebellions and patches in their studies concerning the revolutionary movements. As a result, the program puts in practice an already acquired characteristic of the transformation which is present in the Arabic world; as more than 70 per cent of the population has less than 30 years old. Among, women become an actress in the claims for transformation.
New action repertories: One of the basic aims of the program is to be attentive to distinguish all the new in its contestation affirmations supported by new actors. In fact, if the social movements in the Arabic world bear, as in several regions of the revolutionary world, material claims based on wealth distribution and access to work, it is distinguished for many people by immaterial claims: to claim for social justice, dignity, to recognize the identity rights based on culture, local or social affiliations or on Islam which occupies an important place in the contestation environment. The important feature which rises on the ownership of these new social movements holds in fact on the symbolic referential work produced by groups of contestation which have not systematically class specificity but insist on a polar social critic. Special attention was given to social networks and their effects. Appropriations and their uses are always analyzed from sociological contexts and conditions and characteristics that give them meaning. if the latter remain important in the observed changes their weight is always overdetermined by the sociological characteristics of the actors.
The state in question: the nation-state and identity crisis: The report between the state and the concerning societies has so to be reconsidered. The necessity of understanding the weaknesses, backwardness and the disintegration of the Southern states either by their redistributive capacities or by contestations which question their efficiency and legitimacy, call to reaper in the concerned territories the previous period established process of the national construction in the present phase of “denationalization”. The program has put in practice the obsolescence of the traditional political frame, the disqualification of political classes indeed a part of elites, the absence of a real alternative throughout new leaders and the states withdrawal on their repressive dimensions.
Reforms in delusion: reorganization, authoritarian regimes consolidation and disintegration: The blocked states or those in destitution process are largely invested by contestations. Thus, reactions will first be brutal repression then tergiversation, and a flexible control under the vigilance of an ambiguous international community, towards reforms “reorganization” in some cases at least free. Reforms precede follow riots, precisely by fear of that riots itself and not by the necessity of transformation. It fundamentally aims to a global change as nothing will change. It is also illustrated by giving changes in order to avoid a transformation emergence. It cancels announces of creating or expending political spaces by overhanging them.
The geopolitics weight: endogenous and external effects: a systematic relation: Among the most important geopolitics, regional and international studied effects part, we insist on the weight of external divers in relation with the internal ones which remain important issue in the understanding of the contestations emergency, its evolutions as the understanding of the point departures in the coming times. Ewa Szezepankiewisc-Rudzka questions the ONG impact and role, as Albert Institute founded by Gene Sharpor or the international center, non violent conflicts (ICNC) or CANVAS, about the revolutionary movements’ formation in the non democratic regimes which are according to Ewa hard to estimate as the formations have a secret character. She however follows: “we suppose that since the beginning of its activity, Serbian instructors were employed as advisors for members’ opposition in more than 50 countries.”
Between Chaos and resistance: The struggle continues: “Spring Arab” a history of a long duration: The configured field by the earthquake which constitutes on the decline of dictators: ruins fact, ethnic wars, the wars of Islam against Islam, don’t cease to progress and go beyond the frontiers. Still, we are far from the so-called by the Medias the seeds of democratization of a world or at least declared or lived by a large community as definitively non soluble in democracy. These analyses are frequently the same nowadays, beyond an agreed lamentation, make of the stereotypes an essential fact. They send back populations and society to their supposed atavism and what would be their explicative cultural specificities of these behaviors of an ancient age. For many analysts, the celebration of “the death of the Spring Arab” are no longer doubtful in front of a war which feeds on a war, in front of an installed chaos in many countries and in front of perils and incertitude in which live others. The same sentence overshadows also the long duration perspective which seems to fall in the same consideration as the one who supports that the dictatorial regimes decline is the pledge to get democracy. It is a disregard that the contestation has a long duration process that takes its seeds from past experiences is not ready to cease as the struggles which developed here and there witness. Furthermore, the reality is that of an increasingly freed population, especially the youth, who seeks for progress, dignity and more freedom. Nevertheless, the movements present the same limits as the Spring Arab. The way for a more citizen contribution seems to be long and uncertain. This unclearness constitutes a decline and a progress at the same time. However, any Arabic society in the Tunisian model, how precarious but iconic! Will find in a short or a long time inside its constitution by a daily struggle, the conditions of release from authoritarian regimes will take place.
The program proposes so to continue working on this field by placing a data observatory which can follow the change in the Arabic world both in the qualitative dimension of the works and the limits and obstacles of democratization process. The program takes also into consideration the role and effects of the social websites as a mean of diffusion of the contestations in different Arabic countries.