Via SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM LISTSERV on February 14, 2014:

This is a Call for Papers on the topic of “Protest Movements in Contemporary Middle East.“ The conference on Protest Movements in Contemporary Middle East“ is organized in Prague under the auspices of the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Centre français de recherche en science sociales (CEFRES), with the kind support of Groupe de Recherches et d’Etudes sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient (GREMMO, Lyon) and Cercle des Chercheurs sur le Moyen-Orient (CCMO).
Since 2009, the protest movements have spread like wildfire throughout the MENA region. On a closer look, the protests were far from uniform, both in terms of their origins as well as their objectives. Some were provoked by electoral fraud, others by growing social discontent. Although factors such as corruption and inept governmental responses to the needs of the time featured everywhere, civic rights and political freedoms were at the top of the demonstrators’ agenda in some places, while they had already become the norm elsewhere. Furthermore, the masses turned out on the streets in places as culturally and historically diverse as Iran (2009), the Arab countries (2011), Israel (2011) and Turkey (2013). Indeed, apart from sharing the same geographical location, the very centers of protest, such as Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran and Tel Aviv, do not have that much in common, ethnically, socially or politically.

Some issues are common, however, such as the calling for a renewal of the relationship between the state and its citizens, the issues raised by the hectic urbanization of the previous decades, the interface between the religious and secular worlds, structural challenges within these societies, and, above all, the fallout from the 2008 economic crisis and the subsequent renewed centrality of social conflicts. Even so, these commonly shared issues had a variety of different impacts on Middle Eastern societies, due to the wide diversity of contexts. Keeping this diversity in mind, the conference aims to bring together political scientists, historians, geographers, sociologists, anthropologists and other academics who have specialized in studying relevant countries/societies. Instead of trying to bridge the unbridgeable via recourse to abstract theoretical constructions, the conference aims at multi-level comparison, based on a respect for the individuality of particular cases.

Conference venue: Prague, May 29-30, 2014.

Language of the conference: English and French.

Guidelines for applications:

1) Abstract of around 500 words (in either English or French)

2) A short bio, including a list of publications

These, together with any other queries, should be sent to zouplna@orient.cas.cz or steuer@orient.cas.cz

Deadline: March 1, 2014.

Conference fee: 30 EUR

The organizer does not provide accommodation but can arrange it at discount rates. Travelling costs are covered by the participants at their own expense.

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