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Book Review: John Chalcraft’s ‘Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East’

Delatolla, Andrew (2016) Book Review: John Chalcraft’s ‘Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East’. Middle East Centre Blog (11 Nov 2016). Website.

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John Chalcraft’s recent book Popular Politics: In the Making of the Modern Middle East sets out to accomplish two difficult tasks: first, the book provides a survey history of contentious politics in the MENA region beginning in 1783 Algeria, and ending with the 2011 protests in Egypt. Second, it provides an innovative theoretical framework that can be applied to the examination of contentious politics in general. In doing so, Chalcraft sets out his analysis by arguing that protest and revolution do not necessarily equate socio-political progress, as it is often conceived of in Western historiography; nor should we conceive of protest and revolution in the MENA region as being mired with violence and fanaticism, as often portrayed through a neo-Orientalist framework. Instead, Chalcraft seeks to rectify perceptions of contentious politics that are too often situated at one of these two extremes. Chalcraft is concerned with the means and consequences of contentious mobilisation and he takes great care to situate the events in their political, economic and social contexts; seeking an ever deeper analysis by drawing on the goals, strategies, principles and tactics of the leadership, organisations and identities involved.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 08:52
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 08:48

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