Social Justice and the Arab Uprisings | Ifi Working Paper
Working Paper | April 2015
Social Justice and the Arab Uprisings by Amaney A. Jamal and Michael Robbins
As the Arab Spring proceeded, massive changes swept across the region. Long-standing stability gave rise to ongoing chaos in some countries, most notably Syria and Libya, but also to a significant extent in Tunisia and Egypt. Meanwhile, Islamist parties won free and fair elections in Egypt and Tunisia and were allowed to come to power. These and other changes greatly altered the political landscape across the region. The importance of these changes cannot be overstated. Yet, amidst talk of a renewed Arab Cold War, changing balances of power in the region, the growing strength of Islamist forces, and the possibility of the onset of an Arab winter, a number of questions that lie at the heart of the Arab Spring remain unanswered. Most centrally, has the quality of governance improved across the region? Have regimes – whether new or long-standing – made tangible improvements on issues related to social justice? Or, has the political infighting or strategic rebalancing by regimes resulted in a continuation of the status quo? Using data from the Arab Barometer, this policy brief seeks to address these questions.