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We want a country: the urban politics of the October revolution in Baghdad’s Tahrir square

Alkhudary, Taif ORCID: 0000-0003-0844-6456 (2022) We want a country: the urban politics of the October revolution in Baghdad’s Tahrir square. Third World Quarterly. ISSN 0143-6597

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01436597.2022.2141219


In this paper, I use Tahrir Square as a case study to examine the significance of space to Iraq’s October Revolution. I draw on the work of Henri Lefebvre to argue that the revolution in Tahrir Square was a response to the degradation of space in Baghdad after 2003 and delineate how protesters used space tactically to alter the dynamics of contention in their favour. In addition, I suggest that despite the material space of the revolution coming to an end, protesters nevertheless saw what unfolded there as revolutionary because it allowed them to imagine politics anew for the first time since 2003. In this way, I contribute to work on social movements in the Middle East by highlighting the revolutionary potential of the imagination and centring protesters’ understanding of it, therefore challenging academic norms about who gets to create theory. This has also allowed me to undertake a nuanced analysis of the events that unfolded in the square, as the focus on the imagination means that I do not need to claim that social relations changed beyond recognition to argue that something of lasting significance took place during Iraq’s October Revolution.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2022 12:06
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 03:30

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