, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 540–548 | Cite as

The Theory of Retroactivism: Arab Resistance to Educational and Technological Progress

  • Abdulrahman Essa Al Lily
  • Ahmed Ali AlhazmiEmail author
Global Society


The article examines the reluctance of Arab culture to ‘Western’ ideas of education and technology. It, first, establishes a conceptual framework for those cultures dominated by ‘retroactivism’—a school of thought that advocates a return to traditions and argues against progressive innovation. The article then puts this framework into practice, addressing the research question: In what instances, if any, do retroactivists accept educational and technological progress? This question was answered by first examining the ways in which a retroactivistic culture approached educational and technological progress. This examination helped generate a timeline of attempts to introduce educational and technological innovations into Arab culture. This timeline shows that Arab culture resists innovation in all its various forms and therefore sustains a retroactivism-dominated way of life. Retroactivists believe in what ‘renewism’ or ‘revivalism’: referring to movements that emerge from time to time throughout history that issue appeals to adhere to old norms and values, using strategies to remind society of the need to return to past ideologies. This means that, although retroactivistic cultures might accept certain innovations, there can occasionally be ‘renewistic movements’ that seek to bring society back to old times, thereby seeking to (peacefully or violently) undermine or eliminate existing innovations.


Education Technology Progress Regression Culture Philosophy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologiesKing Faisal UniversityAl AhsaSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of EducationJazan UniversityJazanSaudi Arabia

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