Active citizenship, participative politics, and challenging the state: How new forms of civil society in the Arab world can meet the promise of 2011

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This article is featured in the ORIENT III 2018

While 2011 seemed to herald a new beginning for the Arab states, what has occurred instead seems significantly worse than the status quo ante. Yet, enlarging the perspective and focusing on the region’s new forms of civil society engagement reveals a fundamental change in the practice of citizenship that challenges the state-imposed order and anti-revolutionary tendencies. Empowering civil society in both the short and medium term can be critical to meeting the vast challenges that the region faces today, and to promoting national reconciliation and future transition processes that meet the aspirations of 2011.

Sarah Anne Rennick is the Deputy Director for Management at the Arab Reform Initiative. Her research focuses on social movements, youth movements, and new forms of political engagement and participation in the Arab world.

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