The Arab Uprisings: Book Review

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Budd 1
Liam Budd
POLI 227
TA: Sherif Fouad

The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East

Marc Lynch defines the 2011 Arab uprisings as “an exceptionally rapid, intense, and nearly simultaneous explosions of popular protest across an Arab world united by shared transnational media and bound by a common identity” (Lynch, 9). In his book The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, he sets out to put the events of the Arab uprising into perspective and to create a guide for the new Middle East. He does so pragmatically and theoretically but dismisses popular theories of international relations as outdated for the new Middle East. Throughout the book, Lynch emphasizes the significance and importance of the new Arab public sphere and media environment in uniting local protests into a regional popular movement. The book covers important historical events leading up to the uprising and details what followed after the self-immolation of a young Tunisian man on December 17, 2010 sparked the first protests of the uprising. What follows is summary of The Arab Uprisings, followed by an analysis of some of book’s key themes and arguments. The Arab Uprisings does exceptionally well in putting the events of the Arab uprisings into perspective, but ultimately fails to function as a effective guide for the new regional politics of the Middle East.

Marc Lynch begins by explaining that what enable local protests to unite into a massive regional movement was the new Arab public sphere that developed in conjunction with a new media environment over the past decade. The new media environment grew from new information and communications technologies and has had three great effects on the Arab world: it has eliminated the ability of authoritarian regimes to control the flow of ideas and enforce public opinion, it has Budd 2

given activists and ordinary citizens new skills, expectations and abilities, and it has...
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