Introduction and Background

  • Andrea Teti
  • Pamela Abbott
  • Francesco Cavatorta
Part of the Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean book series (RTM)


The Arab Uprisings were events of rare intensity in Middle Eastern history as mass, popular and largely non-violent revolts which threatened and toppled supposedly stable autocracies. Branded them the region’s ‘1989 moment’, when counter-revolution followed revolution, artificial expectations gave way to equally misplaced disaffection, still fails to recognise the Uprisings’ originality and diversity. Focusing on three cases epitomising different post-Uprising trajectories—Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt—this chapter explores how the Uprisings have been analysed. Explanations for the Uprisings fall into three categories, over-emphasising in turn chances for democratisation, cultural or material obstacles to democracy, or the stability of ‘hybrid regimes’. The chapter contextualises events leading to the Uprisings in each country and examines strengths and weaknesses of the toolkit through which the Uprisings have been viewed.


Arab Uprisings Modernisation Political transformation Democratisation Authoritarianism Authoritarian resilience 


Macro Indicators and Indexes

  1. World Development Indicators.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Teti
    • 1
  • Pamela Abbott
    • 1
  • Francesco Cavatorta
    • 2
  1. 1.University of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Laval UniversityQuébecCanada

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