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In Life as Politics, Asef Bayat argues that such presumptions fail to recognize the routine, yet important, ways in which ordinary people make meaningful change. Asef Bayat is the Catherine & Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, and Professor of Sociology and Middle East at the. Asef Bayat talks about revolutions and revolutionary ideas, the place of ordinary people in social transformation, and what we can learn from.

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Dr. Asef Bayat | Sociology at Illinois

We had a revolutionary movement that came to compel the existing state to reform itself byaat behalf of the revolution. On the other hand, however, precisely because of this the forces of counter-revolution would have better chance to engage in acts of sabotage and to regroup to restore old order.

He is a keen observer of the social and political bayzt in its complexities and dynamism. We now have a legacy of Tahrir and should think about how it is possible to extend that political moment beyond that space and time of Tahrir.

Watch the video by Linda Herrera. But I think that while Tahrir was so spectacular, so inspiring, it was also exceptional, transitory. So, with the end of socialism following the Eastern European revolutions, the very idea of revolution, which was so linked to and informed by socialism, came to an end.

How can the idea of Tahrir work in different settings? As I argue in the book, neoliberalism has the effect of both creating dissent among the ordinary people, because it generates deprivation, exclusion and inequalities; but it also has had the effect of de-radicalizing the political class, meaning that it presents itself as a way of life for which there is no alternative. How did they propose to implement social justice, or was it based on lip service, something that came out of a reaction to the terrible inequalities and deprivations that the economic neoliberalism has unleashed on bayta ordinary people?

Linda Herrera, a social anthropologist, is professor in the department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of the Global Studies in Education program. So, I would not be depressed, despite the fact that the political condition right now is really depressing, and this is the case globally.

On the one hand, they are by nature pluralistic because the power is not monopolized by the revolutionary take-over of the state—many institutions of civil society including those associated with the old regime remain active.


By tracing the contours and illuminating the meaning of the uprisings, Bayat gives us the book needed to explain and understand our post—Arab Spring world. Revolutions almost always start spontaneously and surprise everyone, including the protagonists themselves, people like Lenin, who are in the business of making revolutions.

In Revolution without Revolutionarieshe deftly and sympathetically employs his own observations of Iran, immediately before and after the revolution, to reflect on the epochal shifts that have re-worked the political regimes, economic structures, and revolutionary imaginaries across the region today. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Once you do this, you tend to play the same games, deploy the same concepts in your opposition.

Revolution without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring | Asef Bayat

His attention to the lives of the urban poor, his extensive field work in very different countries within the region, and his ability to see over the horizon of current paradigms make his work essential reading. Of course, we bauat not be simply waiting for the future to come, but rather, we baywt make that alternative future possible. But you still had movements, both liberation struggles and social movements that were inclined towards radical ideologies like socialism and communism, largely in the developing countries.

Transformation Where love meets social justice.

Asef Bayat is an Iranian-American scholar. Rana Magdy and Mariam Ali. This groundbreaking book is not an obituary for the Arab Spring but a hopeful glimpse at its future. Bayt from ” https: I think some kind of ideas might emerge in the process, but really those have to be backed up and supported by deep thinking and rigorous analysis.

This eye-opening book makes an important contribution to global debates over the qsef of social movements and the dynamics of social change. And it was for this reason that when what happened in Sidi Bouzid and later on in Tahrir Square, the revolutionaries and nayat had to improvise; they had to come to terms with what they had never bbayat what to do with this crowd and what will happen the day after?

During those eighteen days, Tahrir politics defined the grassroots politics around the globe. Bayat has published widely on issues of political sociology, social movementsurban space and politicsthe everyday of politics and religiosity, contemporary Islamand the Muslim Middle East. Above all, this work establishes Asef Bayat as a virtuoso of the sociological imaginary.


Asef Bayat

In fact, the first sentence in the book starts with this: It seemed that what the protagonists wanted was to have these autocrats like Mubarak, Ben Ali or Saleh removed. In other words, revolutionary movements can happen and did happen even if the political class, the activists for instance, may not have thought and imagined the revolution. One has to have some fairly good ideas about what happens the day after. Support North Africa West Asia. But the question was — how is it possible to institutionalize Tahrir, in the sense of sustaining it in the relations and institutions of society, in the normal, non-exceptional, post-revolution times?

On the one hand, the process of the Arab revolutions was by far more open, more participative, and less repressive than the earlier revolutions that had a unified organization and leadership. He further refined the concept in collection with scholars of political Islam throughout the Muslim world titled, Post-Islamism: Specialist and non-specialist readers alike will find themselves transported to the streets of the Middle East and afforded a first-hand view of social and political activism in the making.

Bayat is not the first scholar to tackle this issue, the field of Middle East studies having offered up its share of autopsies, but his lucid and readable account does provide the most plausible explanation. If you look at other social movements throughout the world at that juncture of such as the Occupy movements, they are pretty similar in terms of their position of not having a particular alternative vision, in the way that previous revolutions had. A unified organization can easily stifle diversity and plurality, which we saw in the case of the Iranian revolution.

Bayat has also contributed to social movement theory with his concepts of “quiet encroachment,” “social non-movements,” and the “politics of presence. There were also very powerful anti-imperialist movements, like in Cuba, which a lot of these political groups in the developing countries upheld. It is an accessible and engaging read, one that will benefit activists as well as social movement scholars.

But what would happen after that? Here the hope is that the regimes would be forced to concede.