This lecture will assess the social-economic and political roots of the ongoing revolutionary process in the MENA region in light of the explanation of revolutions as expressions of the contradiction between the development of productive forces, the mode of production and the political structure. It will address the variety of situations and processes in MENA as related to the differences in social structures and types of states. The social dynamics of the revolutionary process will be examined, pointing to the social-political nature of the forces involved – whether those forces that pre-existed the upheaval or the new forces that emerged during the upheaval. Finally, it will reflect on the perspectives of the process at the regional level.
Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, where he is based since 2007, after Beirut, Paris and Berlin. He is the author of several books on politics and international relations in general, and the Middle East and North Africa in particular, including most recently The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder (2006), Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with Noam Chomsky, 2007), and The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (2010).