Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 43 Nos. 1

Introduction: The Pulse of the Arab Revolt

Published on 20 January 2012

This article explores the dynamics of the rupture with the status quo that transformed the face of the Arab world.

It examines the meanings of the pathways of social and political change in the light of some of the dominant paradigms that have informed policy and practice in the Arab world. In doing so, this article makes five key postulations that are relevant beyond the Arab context: the first is that we need new lens, new framings and new modes of engagement to capture the pulse of the street. The second postulation is that representing the uprisings as a ‘Facebook revolution’ is highly reductionist and risks promoting the replacement of one development fashion fad with another, without addressing the underlying power dynamics. This is especially so since the uprisings reached tipping point by virtue of a constellation of dynamics involving the youth, the masses and the army’s military coup. Third, the time-and-space-bound moral economy of Tahrir Square bears much explanatory power on why the act of revolting should not be confused with its outcome. The fourth contestation suggests that the concept of unruly politics may offer substantial analytical power in understanding the agency, the relationships and spaces through which people mobilised. The fifth argues that there is a need to rethink development policy in the light of a number of paradigm failures outlined below.

Related Content

This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 43.1 (2012) Introduction: The Pulse of the Arab Revolt

Cite this publication

Tadros, M. (2012) Introduction: The Pulse of the Arab Revolt. IDS Bulletin 43(1): 1-15

Citation copied


Image of Mariz Tadros

Mariz Tadros

Director (CREID)

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Tadros, Mariz


Related content