Emergency, Governmentality, and the 'Arab Spring'

Jadaliyya, August 2011

4 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2012

See all articles by John Reynolds

John Reynolds

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Date Written: August 10, 2011


With states of emergency proving salient to the unfolding of the Arab uprisings in the spring of 2011 and continuing to permeate the political landscape — through opposition to long-standing emergencies as well as proclamations of new ones — it is worth reflecting on the genesis and underlying essence of emergency law. The ostensible premise of the doctrine of emergency is one of a last resort mechanism to be implemented for the common good, with the temporary suspension of certain freedoms necessary to facilitate an expedient return to "normalcy" and the full restoration of legal rights. Historical experience, however, from European colonialism to Arab dictatorship, suggests that reality is otherwise.

Keywords: state of emergency, Arab uprisings, Arab Spring, governmentality, international human rights law

JEL Classification: K33, N45

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, John, Emergency, Governmentality, and the 'Arab Spring' (August 10, 2011). Jadaliyya, August 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2165423

John Reynolds (Contact Author)

National University of Ireland, Maynooth ( email )

Maynooth, County Kildare

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