Civil society as revolutionary diplomats?: Foreign policy after the Arab Spring

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This article is featured in the ORIENT I 2021

This article examines civil society’s evolving role in the development of foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, a near-decade after the Arab Spring. By focusing on four sets of civil society actors: youth, women’s, labour and human rights groups, I argue that civil society initially flourished in its ability to impact foreign policy after 2011. However, this initial optimism faded in 2013 as organisations grappled with increasing authoritarian backlash.

Kirstie Lynn Dobbs is a full-time lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at Merrimack College in North Andover, United States. Her research focuses on political behaviour in transitioning and established democracies, with a particular emphasis on elections, public opinion and youth in the Middle East and North Africa.

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