Jamie AllinsonOct 27, 2022
The Age of Counter-Revolution
States and Revolutions in the Middle East
Cambridge University Press 2022
The last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented amount of protests for far-reaching social change around the world – from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to the protests against police violence following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Yet, for the most part, these uprisings have failed to produce revolutionary social and political changes, achieving at most fig leaf reforms or reconfigurations of political institutions that leave the interests of the powerful untouched. My guest today, Jamie Allinson, argues that understanding this gap between revolutionary demands and the persistence of the social status quo requires an analysis of counter-revolutionary political strategies by incumbent elites and their international patrons.
Focusing on the countries of the Arab Spring, The Age of Counter-Revolution: States and Revolutions in the Middle East (Cambridge UP, 2022) examines how authoritarian elites have used performative violence to smash the optimism and imagination of revolutionary movements, drawn on the legacies of previous revolutions-from-above to reconstruct social bases of support, and gained the support of international allies who stood to lose materially and symbolically by the emergence of new revolutionary states.
Jamie Allinson is a senior lecturer of international relations at the University of Edinburgh.
Geoffrey Gordon is a PhD candidate in comparative politics at the University of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @geofflgordon.