Analyzing Politics Beyond the Center in an Age of Transformation

  • Anja Hoffmann
  • Malika Bouziane
  • Cilja Harders
Part of the Governance and Limited Statehood Series book series (GLS)


Recent upheavals in the Arab world1 have challenged both statist and centrist assumptions about Middle Eastern politics. New social movements in the urban centers and virtual networks, as well as actors and actions from the so-called periphery, have changed the political landscape of the region within months. Still, these developments are rooted in long-term processes: until 2011, massive social, political, cultural, and economic transformations did not lead to regime change. The dynamics of these social ‘transformations without political transitions’ (Harders, 2009, p. 301), as well as the current developments, which fall between transition to democracy and civil war, deserve a closer look. 2008 alone saw various protests and social upheavals, such as in Bahrain in early February, where workers demonstrated against their decreasing purchasing power; in March, riots led to violent clashes in Yemen; in May, young football fans took the defeat of their football club in the Algerian city of Oran as an occasion to release their anger against the lack of prospects and the arrogance of power. Similarly, the following years witnessed numerous small-scale protests and local riots (Bayat, 2010; Beinin and Vairel, 2011; Catusse and Vairel, 2010), which culminated in the mass mobilization of 2011.


Middle East Arab World Informal Institution Local Politics Football Club 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. AbiYaghi, M.-N. and M. Catusse (2011) ‘Non à l’Etat holding, oui à l’Etat providence — Logiques et contraintes des mobilisations sociales dans le Liban de l’après-guerre’ in S. Ben Néfissa and B. Destremau (eds.) Protestations sociales, révolutions civiles. Transformation du politique dans la Méditerranée arabe (Paris: Armand Colin), pp. 67–93.Google Scholar
  2. Adwan, C. D. (2009) Translating ‘Governance’ into Arabic,, date accessed 25 March 2013.
  3. Agnew, J. A. (1994) ‘The Territorial Trap — The Geographical Assumptions of International Relations Theory’, Review of International Political Economy, 1, (1), 53–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Agnew, J. A. (2002) Making Political Geography, Human Geography in the Making (London: Arnold).Google Scholar
  5. Agnew, J. A. (2011) ‘Space and Place’ in J. Agnew and D. Livingstone (eds.) Handbook of Geographical Knowledge (London: Sage), pp. 316–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Agnew, J. A., K. Mitchell and G. Toal (2003) A Companion to Political Geography, Blackwell Companions to Geography (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing).Google Scholar
  7. Alhamad, L. (2008) ‘Formal and Informal Venues of Engagement’ in E. Lust-Okar and S. Zerhouni (eds.) Political Participation in the Middle East (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.), pp. 32–47.Google Scholar
  8. Ali, N. S. and N. Pratt (eds.) (2009) Women and War in the Middle East — Transnational Perspectives (London: Zed Books).Google Scholar
  9. Allal, A. (2012) ‘Trajectoires “révolutionnaires” en Tunisie’, Processus de radicalisations politiques 2007–2011, 62, (5–6), 821–841.Google Scholar
  10. Allal, A. and K. Bennafla (2011) ‘Les mouvements protestataires de Gafsa (Tunisie) et Sidi Ifni (Maroc) — des mobilisations en faveur du réengagement de l’Etat ou contre l’ordre politique?’ in S. B. Néfissa and B. Destremau (eds.) Protestations sociales, révolutions civiles. Transformation du politique dans la Méditerranée (Paris: Armand Collin), pp. 27–46.Google Scholar
  11. Amar, P. (2011) Why Mubarak Is Out, Jadaliyya,, date accessed 25 March 2013.
  12. Amro, A. (2013) Sons of Beaches — How Alexandria’s Ideological Battles Shape Egypt,, date accessed 26 March 2013.Google Scholar
  13. Anderson, B. R. (1989) Imagined Communities — Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso).Google Scholar
  14. Anderson, L. (2006) ‘Searching where the Light shines — Studying Democratization in the Middle East’, Annual Review of Political Science, 9, (1), 189–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Arbeitsstelle Politik des Vordern Orient (2012) ‘Participation and Contentious Politics from below in Arab Autocracies’, Paper Presented at the Conference ‘Realigning Power Geometries in the Arab World’, Leipzig, 24–26 February 2012.Google Scholar
  16. Ayubi, N. N. M. (1995) Over-Stating the Arab State — Politics and Society in the Middle East (London: Tauris).Google Scholar
  17. Bayart, J.-F., A. Mbembe and C. Toulabor (1992) Le politique par le bas en Afrique noire — Contributions à une problématique de la démocratie (Paris: Karthala).Google Scholar
  18. Bayat, A. (1997) Street Politics: Poor People’s Movements in Iran (New York: Columbia University Press).Google Scholar
  19. Bayat, A. (2010) Life as Politics—How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (Cairo: Cairo Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bayat, A. (2011) ‘Arab Revolutions and the Study of Middle Eastern Societies’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 43, (3), 386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Beetz, S. (2008) ‘Peripherisierung als räumliche Organisation sozialer Ungleichheit’ in E. Barlösius and C. Neu (eds.) Peripherisierung — eine neue Form sozialer Ungleichheit? (Berlin: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften), pp. 7–16.Google Scholar
  22. Beinin, J. and F. Vairel (2011) Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa, Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  23. Bierschenk, T. and J.-P. Olivier de Sardan (1996) Les pouvoirs en l’absence d’état — Configurations du pouvoir politique local et rapports à l’état en milieu rural centrafricain, Working Papers on African Societies (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch).Google Scholar
  24. Bierschenk, T. and J.-P. Olivier de Sardan (1998) Macht und Politik im ländlichen Bénin in den 1990er Jahren — Ein Beitrag zur Diskussion über Dezentralisierung und lokale Demokratie im frankophonen Afrika, Working Papers on African Societies (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch).Google Scholar
  25. Bourdieu, P. (1987) Die feinen Unterschiede — Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp).Google Scholar
  26. Bouziane, M. (2010) ‘The State from Below — Local Governance Practices in Jordan’, Journal for Economic and Social Studies, 12, (1), 33–61.Google Scholar
  27. Brahimi, A. (2011) ‘Libya’s Revolution’, The Journal of North African Studies, 16, (4), 605–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Brenner, N. (1999) ‘Beyond State-centrism? Space, Territoriality, and Geographical Scale in Globalization Studies’, Theory and Society, 28, (39), 39–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Brenner, N. (2008) ‘Tausend Blätter — Bemerkungen zu den Geographien ungleicher räumlicher Entwicklung’ in M. Wissen (ed.) Politics of Scale — Räume der Globalisierung und Perspektiven emanzipatorischer Politik (Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot), pp. 57–84.Google Scholar
  30. Brenner, N., B. Jessop, M. Jones and G. MacLeod (2003) State, Space — A Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing).Google Scholar
  31. Casey, M. (2012) ‘Arab Uprisings: New Opportunities for Political Science’, POMEPS Briefing [online], 12,, date accessed 8 March 2013.Google Scholar
  32. Catusse, M. and F. Vairel (2010) ‘Question sociale et developpement — les territoires de l’action publique et de la contestation au Maroc’, Politique Africaine, 120, 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Collier, D. and S. Levitsky (1997) ‘Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research’, World Politics, 49, (3), 430–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Cox, K. R. and M. Low (2003) ‘Political Geography in Question’, Political Geography, 22, (6), 599–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Das, V. and D. Poole (eds.) (2004) Anthropology in the Margins of the State, School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  36. El-Ghobashy, M. (2011) ‘The Praxis of the Egyptian Revolution’, Middle East Report, 41, (258), 2–13.Google Scholar
  37. Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
  38. Freitag, U. and A. von Oppen (2010) Translocality. The Study of Globalising Processes from a Southern Perspective (Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill).Google Scholar
  39. Griffin, K. (1981) ‘Economic Development in a Changing World’, World Development, 9, (3), 221–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gupta, A. (1995) ‘Blurred Boundaries — The Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and the Imagined State’, American Ethnologist, 22, (2), 375–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gupta, A. and J. Ferguson (1997) ‘Discipline and Practice — “The Field” as Site, Method and Location in Anthropology’ in A. Gupta and J. Ferguson (eds.) Anthropological Locations — Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), pp. 1–46.Google Scholar
  42. Gupta, A. and A. Sharma (eds.) (2006) The Anthropology of the State — A Reader (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing).Google Scholar
  43. Hall, P. A. and R. C. R. Taylor (1996) ‘Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms’, Political Studies, 44, (5), 936–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hall, S. (1992) ‘Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies’ in L. Grossberg and C. Nelson (eds.) Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge), pp. 277–294.Google Scholar
  45. Hansen, T. B. and F. Stepputat (eds.) (2005) Sovereign Bodies — Citizens, Migrants and States in the Post-Colonial World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  46. Harders, C. (2002) Staatsanalyse von unten — urbane Armut und politische Partizipation in ägypten (Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut).Google Scholar
  47. Harders, C. (2009) ‘Politik von unten — Perspektiven auf den autoritären Staat in ägypten’ in M. Beck, C. Harders, A. Jünemann and S. Stetter (eds.) Der Nahe Osten im Umbruch — Zwischen Transformation und Autoritarismus (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag), pp. 299–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Harvey, D. (1973) Social Justice and the City, 1st ed. (London: Arnold).Google Scholar
  49. Helmke, G. and S. Levitsky (2006) ‘Introduction’ in G. Helmke and S. Levitsky (eds.) Informal Institutions & Democracy (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press), pp. 1–30.Google Scholar
  50. Heydemann, S. (2007) ‘Upgrading Authoritarianism in the Arab World’, The Brookings Institution, Analysis Paper [online], 13,, date accessed 27 June 2013.
  51. Hoffmann, A. and C. König (2013) ‘Scratching the Democratic Façade — Framing Strategies of the 20 February Movement’, Mediterranean Politics, 18, (1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ismail, S. (2006) Political Life in Cairo’s New Quarters — Encountering the Everyday State (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press).Google Scholar
  53. Joseph, S. (2000) Gender and Citizenship in the Middle East, 1st ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press).Google Scholar
  54. Karadag, R. (2007) ‘Jenseits von Kultur und ökonomie — Rivalisierende Erklärungsansätze zum Klientelismus und ihre Relevanz für die Arabische Welt’ in H. Albrecht (ed.) Der Vordere Orient — Politik, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Baden-Baden: Nomos), pp. 243–260.Google Scholar
  55. Kienle, E. (2003) Politics from above, Politics from below — The Middle East in the Age of Economic Reform, 1st ed. (London: Saqi).Google Scholar
  56. Krasner, S. (1999) Sovereignty — Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  57. Lang, T. (2011) ‘Regional Development issues in Central and Eastern Europe: Shifting Research Agendas from a Focus on Peripheries to Peripheralisation?’ in Á. Eröss and D. KarÁcsonyi (eds.) Geography in Visegrad and Neighbour Countries (Budapest: HAS Geographical Research Institute), pp. 57–64.Google Scholar
  58. Lefebvre, H. (1991 [1974]) The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers).Google Scholar
  59. Lenner, K. (2009) ‘Die lokale übersetzung globaler politischer Paradigmen — Armutsbekämpfung in Jordanien’, Peripherie, 114, (115), 215–240.Google Scholar
  60. Lossau, J. (2002) Die Politik der Verortung. Eine postkoloniale Reise zu einer anderen Geographie der Welt, Kultur und soziale Praxis (Bielefeld: Transcript).Google Scholar
  61. March, J. G. and J. P. Olsen (1989) Rediscovering Institutions — The Organizational Basis of Politics (New York and London: Free Press).Google Scholar
  62. Massey, D. B. (1984) Geography Matters! A Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Massey, D. B. (1994) Space, Place and Gender (Cambridge: Polity Press).Google Scholar
  64. Massey, D. B. (1999) Power-Geometries and the Politics of Space Time — Hettner Lecture 1998, Hettner Lectures, 1st ed. (Heidelberg: University of Heidelberg; Department of Geography).Google Scholar
  65. McDowell, L. (2007) Gender, Identity and Place — Understanding Feminist Geographies (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press).Google Scholar
  66. Migdal, J. S. (1988) Strong Societies and Weak States — State-Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  67. Migdal, J. S. (2004) State in Society — Studying How States and Societies Transform and Constitute One Another (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  68. Milliken, J. and K. Krause (2002) ‘State Failure, State Collapse, and State Reconstruction — Concepts, Lessons and Strategies’, Development & Change, 33, (5), 753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Moghadam, V. M. (2007) From Patriarchy to Empowerment — Women’s Participation, Movements, and Rights in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, 1st ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press).Google Scholar
  70. Olivier de Sardan, J. P. (2011) ‘The Eight Modes of Local Governance in West Africa’, IDS Bulletin, 42, (2), 22–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Pace, M. and F. Cavatorta (2012) ‘The Arab Uprisings in Theoretical Perspective — An Introduction’, Mediterranean Politics, 17, (2), 125–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Paoletti, E. (2011) ‘Libya — Roots of a Civil Conflict’, Mediterranean Politics, 16, (2), 313–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Posusney, M. P. (2005) Authoritarianism in the Middle East — Regimes and Resistance (Boulder, CO: Rienner).Google Scholar
  74. Reuber, P. (2012) Politische Geographie (Paderborn: Schöningh).Google Scholar
  75. Risse, T. (2011) ‘Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood — Introduction and Overview’ in T. Risse (ed.) Governance Without a State? Policies and Politics in Areas of Limited Statehood (New York: Columbia University Press), pp. 1–38.Google Scholar
  76. Schlumberger, O. (2007) Debating Arab Authoritarianism — Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  77. Scott, J. C. (1985) Weapons of the Weak — Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  78. Scott, J. C. (1990) Domination and the Arts of Resistance — Hidden Transcripts (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  79. Singerman, D. (1995) Avenues of Participation — Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo, Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  80. Smith, N. (1992) ‘Contours of a Spatialized Politics — Homeless Vehicles and the Production of Geographical Scale’, Social Text, 33, 55–81.Google Scholar
  81. Soja, E. W. (1989) Postmodern Geographies — The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, Haymarket Series (London: Verso).Google Scholar
  82. Toal, G. (1996) Critical Geopolitics — The Politics of Writing Global Space, 1st ed. (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  83. UNDP (2004) Arab Human Development Report 2004 — Towards Freedom in the Arab World,, date accessed 25 March 2013.
  84. Wedeen, L. (1999) Ambiguities of Domination — Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  85. Wedeen, L. (2008) Peripheral Visions — Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen, Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anja Hoffmann, Malika Bouziane, and Cilja Harders 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja Hoffmann
  • Malika Bouziane
  • Cilja Harders

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations