Arab Transformations Framework Project Paper
Arab Transformations Working Paper 4
27 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2017
Date Written: July 21, 2016
The Arab Uprisings represented a series of events unprecedented in the history of the Middle East: mass, popular and largely non-violent uprisings took place starting in December 2010 in Tunisia and reverberating throughout the region. These protests threatened – and in several cases resulted in the overthrow of – apparently stable autocratic regimes. The unprecedented nature and extensive domestic, regional and international impact of the Uprisings in and of itself merits attention, but coming hard on the heels of a global financial crisis and given the resonance of the Arab Uprisings with protest movements beyond the region, these Uprisings appear all the more significant beyond the region itself. The significance of the Uprisings is not just academic, however: the Middle East is one of the most frequently conflictual regions in the world, it is central to the global political economy – e.g. as a source of hydrocarbon fuels, and as a global logistical nexus – it is a source of and transit point for migratory flows towards Europe, and its autocracies have been supported as key allies by Western governments, both in Europe and North America. This project aims to generate new data and analyses of the Uprisings themselves, but is also sensitive to the policy implications of these analyses. The objective of the ArabTrans project is to contribute particularly to a better empirical understanding of the Uprisings and of the longer-term processes that lead to them and which they epitomise. To do this, the project will a) identify the principal approaches to transitions between political systems as they pertain to the Middle East generally and to the Arab Uprisings in particular; b) identify a series of political, economic, and social categories and variables based on these orthodox approaches; c) evaluate the available literature and existing data on the basis of these variables; and d) design a survey based on available data in order to facilitate the creation of a useful longitudinal database against which long-term trends and transformations might be identified. While the project will use existing data sets from public opinion surveys to look at long-time trends and transformations in public opinion, it will update and integrate these data by carrying out a new survey which will provide up to date information on public opinion in the MENA countries in 2014. This survey will use relevant questions that have been used in previous surveys to facilitate the longitudinal analysis as well as adding new questions to answer questions that arise from the literature review, particularly focusing on security, detailed questions on participation in the Uprisings and on EU-MENA relations, as well as additional questions on media, including social media use. These survey data will then be combined in a longitudinal database with non-survey quantitative data, enabling measurements of long-term trends and transformations.
Keywords: Arab Uprisings, Political Transformation, Democracy, Human Rights, Methodolgy
JEL Classification: N45, N47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation