Protest Publics as the “Triggers” of Political Changes in Hybrid Regimes: The Cases of Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt

  • Artem UldanovEmail author
  • Łukasz Jakubiak
  • Hamid ait El Caid
Part of the Societies and Political Orders in Transition book series (SOCPOT)


The “Arab Spring” affected a significant amount of countries around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but the intensity and nature of protests were different from one country to another. In some cases, protests led not only to overthrowing of authoritarian leaders but to civil war and harsh clashes among ethnic and religious groups. A phenomenon of the “Arab Spring” attracted serious attention from scholars and was studied from very different perspectives: reasons and outcomes of protests, comparative analysis of state fragility in the region, the role of social media and the Internet in the protests, social base, repertoire of actions, demands, etc. Such attention underlines the significance of these protests for the social and political landscape in the region. In this chapter, we want to develop some theories and ideas from existing literature to show the role of the new political actor—“protest publics” in processes of change followed by protests. The applied research approach will also be aimed at showing the diverse effects of social revolts at the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century from the point of view of the need to stabilize political systems through constitutional changes. The impact of this type of social activity on the content of new constitutions adopted in all the countries in the aftermath of the events of 2011 is particularly important. The problem of possible strategies of public authorities which sought to use the process of constitutional change as a form of taking a political initiative to neutralize the protesters is also taken into consideration. An analysis of the social, political, and legal circumstances raises a fundamental question about the effects of the Arab Spring, seen through the prism of final designs of new constitutional orders. Taking as examples three MENA countries, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, we argue that the political changes there could be described by the model, where protests served as a trigger for development toward democracy and a more stable economy and not only as a factor but, more importantly, as an actor of such change in terms of protest publics’ participation.


Mass protests Policy change Public participation Protest publics The “Arab Spring,” Tunisia Egypt Morocco Democratization Constitution 



The chapter was prepared within the framework of the Academic Fund Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2016–2017 (grant № 17-05-0018) and by the Russian Academic Excellence Project “5-100.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Artem Uldanov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Łukasz Jakubiak
    • 2
  • Hamid ait El Caid
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Policy DepartmentNational Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU-HSE)MoscowRussian Federation
  2. 2.Institute of Political Science and International Relations at the Jagiellonian UniversityCracowPoland
  3. 3.US Peace CorpsRabatMorocco

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