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About Asef Bayat
Asef Bayat, is Professor of Sociology, and Catherine & Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before joining Illinois, he taught at the American University in Cairo for many years; and served as the director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) holding the Chair of Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East at Leiden University, The Netherlands. His research areas range from social movements and social change, to religion and public life, urban space and politics, and contemporary Middle East. His recent books include Being Young and Muslim: Cultural Politics in the Global South and North (ed. with Linda Herrera) (Oxford University Press, 2010); Post-Islamism: The Changing Faces of Political Islam (Oxford University Press, 2013); Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2013. 2nd edition), Revolution without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring (Stanford University Press, 2017), Global Middle East: Into the 21st Century (ed. With Linda Herrera) (University of California Press, 2021), and Revolutionary Life: The Everyday of the Arab Spring (Harvard University Press, 2021).
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Titles By Asef Bayat
From a leading scholar of the Middle East and North Africa comes a new way of thinking about the Arab Spring and the meaning of revolution.
From the standpoint of revolutionary politics, the Arab Spring can seem like a wasted effort. In Tunisia, where the wave of protest began, as well as in Egypt and the Gulf, regime change never fully took hold. Yet if the Arab Spring failed to disrupt the structures of governments, the movement was transformative in farms, families, and factories, souks and schools.
Seamlessly blending field research, on-the-ground interviews, and social theory, Asef Bayat shows how the practice of everyday life in Egypt and Tunisia was fundamentally altered by revolutionary activity. Women, young adults, the very poor, and members of the underground queer community can credit the Arab Spring with steps toward equality and freedom. There is also potential for further progress, as women’s rights in particular now occupy a firm place in public discourse, preventing retrenchment and ensuring that marginalized voices remain louder than in prerevolutionary days. In addition, the Arab Spring empowered workers: in Egypt alone, more than 700,000 farmers unionized during the years of protest. Labor activism brought about material improvements for a wide range of ordinary people and fostered new cultural and political norms that the forces of reaction cannot simply wish away.
In Bayat’s telling, the Arab Spring emerges as a paradigmatic case of “refolution”—revolution that engenders reform rather than radical change. Both a detailed study and a moving appeal, Revolutionary Life identifies the social gains that were won through resistance.
Written in short and accessible essays by prominent experts on the region, Global Middle East covers topics including God, Rumi, food, film, fashion, music, sports, science, and the flow of people, goods, and ideas. The text explores social and political movements from human rights, Salafism, and cosmopolitanism to radicalism and revolutions. Using the insights of global studies, students will glean new perspectives about the region.
The second edition includes three new chapters on the Arab Spring and Iran's Green Movement and is fully updated to reflect recent events. At heart, the book remains a study of agency in times of constraint. In addition to ongoing protests, millions of people across the Middle East are effecting transformation through the discovery and creation of new social spaces within which to make their claims heard. This eye-opening book makes an important contribution to global debates over the meaning of social movements and the dynamics of social change.