Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East

Edited by Shabnam J. Holliday, Philip Leech

Publication date:

04 April 2016

Length of book:

228 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781783484485

Identity plays an important part in terms of how we imagine our relationship with the state and governing bodies. If we know who we are, then we can know and articulate what we want as political actors.

This book examines the relationship between identity and political dissent in the context of the Arab and non-Arab Middle East by focusing on recent uprisings and protests in the region. The case studies here - Iran, Palestine, Israel, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan – highlight a number of dynamics and different forms of resistance. These examples show how political identities are multiple, not static and that they are too complex to be reduced to superficial dichotomies of Islamism vs. secularism or Sunnism vs. Shi’ism. Through examining the relationship between everyday grassroots politics and the question of identity, as well as elite identity discourses, this volume presents a textured analysis of the region’s dynamic political communities. This book explores how different identities must be navigated, negotiated and how they intersect at a time of dramatic change in the Middle East.
This volume draws out both the complexities and common themes in the dynamics of political activism and identity in uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa since 2009. Looking at non-Arab alongside ‘Arab’ instances, and focusing on the agency-structure question, the detailed case studies cohere into a fine-grained but conceptually compelling contribution to the literature.