Middle East - Topics & Arguments 2018-02-28T10:57:17+01:00 Alena Strohmaier (Managing Editor) Open Journal Systems <p><strong>META</strong>'s geographical focus is the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The journal is concerned with the states of Northern Africa and West Asia.</p> Political Temporalities of Youth 2018-01-31T11:42:21+01:00 Christoph H. Schwarz Anika Oettler None 2017-12-08T12:32:40+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Is There A Youth Politics? 2018-01-31T11:42:21+01:00 Asef Bayat <p>What is the nature of 'youth politics', if any? This article proposes an analytical lens which may help us consider ‘youth’ as a useful category, and 'youth politics' in terms of the conflicts and negotiations over claiming or defending youthfulness. Understood in this fashion, youth politics is mediated by the position of the young in class, gender, racial, sexual and other involved social structures. It concludes that the political outlook of a young person may be shaped not just by the exclusive preoccupation with 'youthfulness', but also by his/her position in society as citizen, poor, female, or a member of a sexual minority.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:40+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Arab Youth: A Contained Youth? 2018-01-31T11:42:22+01:00 Joerg Gertel <p>Young people in the Arab world increasingly have to struggle with economic hardship and difficulties to start their own lives, although the majority is better educated than ever before. The problematic labor market situation combined with weak public schemes to support young careers force large sections of young people to postpone their ambitions to marry. This period of delayed marriage is captured as 'waithood'. I will argue that this term is misleading. Two points of critique apply: The social dimension of waiting exceeds the status of remaining inactive until something expected happens; the ever-changing present continuously generates new realities. Simultaneously uncertainties and insecurities have dramatically expanded since 2011 and further limit livelihood opportunities and future perspectives, particularly of the youth. Young people are hence becoming both, increasingly frustrated and disadvantaged the longer they "wait", and even more dependent on parents and kin networks. This hinders them to develop their personality – they rather have to accommodate with values that are not always suitable to master the present requirements of a globalizing world. In this paper I will inquire, in how far young people of the Arab world have thus to be considered as a “contained youth”.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:40+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## It's Time to Talk about Youth in the Middle East as The Precariat 2018-02-23T11:06:07+01:00 Linda Herrera <p>In 2011, the year of the Arab uprisings, <em>The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class</em> by Guy Standing hit the bookstands. The concept precariat describes the condition of life and labour among educated urbanized youth in the twenty-first century more lucidly and persuasively than the key policy literature on the region, as exemplified in <em>The Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) 2016: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality</em>. This paper argues that any meaningful conceptualization of youth in North Africa and West Asia going forward should incorporate the notion of precariat and the condition of precariousness.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:40+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Analyzing Moroccan ‘Youth’ in Historical Context: Rethinking the Significance of Social Entrepreneurship 2018-02-28T10:57:17+01:00 Shana Cohen <p>Popular analyses of political discontent among young people converged on a global level after the advent of the economic crisis in 2007-08. They have referred to pervasive alienation, frustration, disappointment, and fear, depicting a generation exploited by ruthless business owners, neglected by policy elites, and abandoned by older generations. The analyses likewise share an understanding of the meaning of ‘youth’, namely a population defined by narrowing economic opportunities under global market capitalism and subsequent protest. This paper attempts to go beyond this conception to explore the emergence of a new framework for agency. More specifically, the paper aims to go beyond interpreting the behavior of ‘youth’ in the Arab World, especially among educated young men and women, as simply about protest. Instead, the paper posits that concurrent trends in privatization of public services, increasing individual and local responsibility for social problems and job creation, job insecurity, and greater exposure to rights and government accountability are influencing capacity to influence local change and likewise, challenging boundaries between social, political, and economic agency. Drawing on longstanding research on social activism in Morocco, the paper adapts the language of theorists of generational formation and consciousness (see Edmunds and Turner 2002, 2005) to argue that the initial consequence of market reform in the eighties and nineties was the formation of an ‘interval generation’, disenfranchised economically and unrepresented politically. Over the past 5-10 years, though, the entrenchment of globalization and neoliberal ideology have led to the emergence of an ‘active generation’ maneuvering to influence policy and liberal market capitalism through altering local economic and social opportunities. This maneuvering is particularly apparent in the rise of social entrepreneurship, not just as an employment policy, but also as an indicator of how the boundaries between economic, political, and social agency at a local level have blurred.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Ahmed Abdalla: Youth Leader, Intellectual, and Community Worker 2018-01-31T11:42:14+01:00 Helena Nassif None 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Rise of the Arab Youth Paradigm: A Critical Analysis of the Arab Human Development Report 2016 2018-01-31T11:42:16+01:00 Mayssoun Sukarieh <p>This article offers a critical analysis of the <em>Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) 2016, </em>that was released by the United Nations Development Programme in November 2016. <em>AHDR 2016</em> represents the return of the Arab Human Development project, that had been interrupted by the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. It also epitomizes the Arab youth paradigm that has increasingly come to frame development and security discourse in the region. While there is much that is familiar in <em>AHDR 2016</em>, there are also concerning developments: a historical revisionism that holds Arab youth responsible for the Arab Spring, and the Arab Spring responsible for the Arab Winter that followed; and a new trend that views not just Arab youth deficits as a dangerous threat to regional and global security, but Arab youth abilities and surfeits as well.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## In Absence of a Hero Figure and an Ideology: Understanding New Political Imaginaries and Practices among Revolutionary Youth in Egypt 2018-02-28T10:57:17+01:00 Dina El-Sharnouby <p>One of the challenges in analyzing youth who participated in the recent Arab uprisings relates to explaining and understanding their revolutionary practices. Adopting a leaderless and cross-ideological form of mobilization, youth during the eighteen days of the Egyptian uprising managed to practice inclusion by uniting a diverse group of Egyptians. After toppling Mubarak, the revolutionary youth, however, did not present themselves as aiming to seize power, a defining feature of revolutions at least until the 1970s. To understand the meaning of these new cross-ideological and leaderless forms of mobilization, I suggest understanding youth within their time and space. Drawing on Alain Badiou and his conception of the intervallic period and the rebirth of history through the Arab revolts, this article highlights important differences among this generation in their conception of doing politics. More specifically, this paper focuses on the changed meaning of the hero figure, highlighting the importance of inclusionary politics. It will suggest that since the 2011 revolutionary event, a shift away from traditional politics based on a leader and an ideology is being contested for a more inclusionary politics as desired by the younger generation in Egypt.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## A Confined Youth? Lived Space and Shifting Boundaries in Beirut 2018-01-31T11:42:19+01:00 Bruno Lefort <p>This article questions spatial experiences among students in Beirut. It mobilizes collaborative map interviews to explore the ways young people experiment with space and the social boundaries it incorporates. I argue that their perception of their lived space underlines a crucial shift: whereas their parents experimented the city in terms of sectarian and political divisions, my interlocutors have integrated these boundaries not as ideological but as the result of daily practices of segregation born during the Lebanese wars (1975-1990). This evolution reveals renewed understandings of the Lebanese complex landscape and contributes to delineate youth as a social shifter.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Frantic Waiting: NGO Anti-Politics and "Timepass" for Young Syrian Refugees in Jordan 2018-01-31T11:42:15+01:00 Ann-Christin Wagner <p>Drawing on Sukarieh and Tannock's political economy of youth approach, this paper explores how Syrian refugee youth is constituted in protracted displacement in Jordan. It investigates a juvenile population often overlooked in Forced Migration Studies, disenfranchised rural Syrians, who fail to develop practices of youthfulness, yet in exile are subjected to alternative productions of <em>youth</em> by the aid sector. Depoliticized NGO youth programming overlooks Syrians' limited access to the labour market and higher education. While educational trainings aim to produce entrepreneurial and citizen refugees, they ultimately contribute to the creation of <em>timepass</em> and precarious lives. This research is grounded in fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian refugees in a border town in northern Jordan.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## What Does It Mean to Be Young for Syrian Men Living as Refugees in Cairo? 2018-01-31T11:42:18+01:00 Magdalena Suerbaum <p>This article deals with Syrian young men who fled to Egypt after the uprising in 2011. Their life was affected by the challenges stemming from displacement, such as their confrontation with new responsibilities, unknown vulnerabilities and emotions, liminality and precarity. They suffered from forced displacement in a gender- and age-specific way.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Sportive Origin of Revolution: Youth Movements and Generational Conflicts in Late Colonial Algeria 2018-01-31T11:42:15+01:00 Jakob Krais <p>Starting in the 1920s and 30s, youth came to be seen, in colonial Algeria as elsewhere in the Arab world, as a social category that educators, academics and politicians had to deal with in one way or another. Modernizers and many young men and women established a host of youth movements from the 1920s onwards: cultural circles and student associations, sports teams and scout troops as well as youth wings of political parties. In this contribution I examine such youth movements and the generational conflicts they brought with them in French Algeria from around 1930 until the achievement of independence in 1962. Based on theories by Johan Huizinga and José Ortega y Gasset about the generative potential of generational communities centered around play, I will demonstrate the importance of allegedly non-political youth groups for the social and political transformations in late colonial Algeria.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:41+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Armando Salvatore: "The Sociology of Islam: Knowledge, Power and Civility" 2018-01-31T11:38:02+01:00 Igor Johannsen <p>None</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:42+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Knowledge Production in the Arab World: The impossible Promise. 2018-02-28T10:57:16+01:00 Sultan Abdallah Maani <p><em>Knowledge Production in the Arab World</em> provides a wealth of vital and useful insights on the dynamics of research in the Arab region. This meticulously well-researched volume is an inside look at what goes on behind the doors of Arab universities, research centers, and policy-makers' saloons to find "exits" or possible ways out of the current research impasse. The book authored by Sari Hanafi, a professor of sociology at AUB, and Rigas Arvanitis, a sociologist at IRD, detects what render a research in the Arab world an irrelevant/ineffective experience, a difficult mission or ‘an/the impossible promise' at national, regional and global levels.</p> 2017-12-08T12:32:42+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##