The Arab Spring and its Surprises


  • Asef Bayat


The occurrence, speed and spread of the ‘Arab revolutions’ took almost everyone by surprise, including the protagonists. But the real surprise lies, this essay suggests, not in how or why these revolutions came to fruition; it rather lies in revolutions’ particular attributes — their ideological orientations and political trajectories. The essay discusses the revolutions’ key (unexpected) characteristics, arguing that the Arab uprisings occurred in new ideological times.