An Arab World in Transition - Theoretical Perspectives


The recent developments in the Middle East have re-ignited discussions about historical transformation. Labeling the events in the MENA-region and reading the scope and significance of the dynamic processes have caused vibrant scholarly debates, as it can be seen from a growing number of academic publications. To take two significant examples: The well-known US-based organization and think tank, Freedom House, published in 2012 their usual annual report "Freedom in the World"; this time with the subtitle "The Arab Uprisings and Their Global Repercussions". The German Bertelsmann Stiftung, every two years publishing the much used Bertelsmann Transformation Index, in 2012 published a report called "The Arab Spring: One Year After. Transformation Dynamics, Prospects for Democratization and the Future of Arab-European Cooperation".

The events within the last two years in the Middle East inspire a rethinking of our comprehension of historical change and call for discussions about our conventional theoretical and methodological paradigms. Taking its point of departure in the discussions about how to interpret the events in the Middle East since late 2010 this conference will analyze the theoretical perspectives of an Arab World in transition. The first part of the conference will discuss theoretical challenges related to the understanding of transition processes in a global perspective.

The second part of the conference will focus on actual developments in the MENA-region and – based on case-studies – discuss how the ongoing transformation can be understood and interpreted. Furthermore it is the ambition to analyze the significance of the changes in a regional and international perspective: how and to which degree will the transition of the Middle Eastern states affect the surrounding world?

The academic debates of first two years after the Arab Uprisings have centered around the internal conflicts in the affected Middle Eastern states and the prospects of democratization in the region. It is the aim of this conference to take the discussion further and by focusing on transitional dynamics and their theoretical perspectives to contribute to the wider understanding of historical change.

The conference is part of the DJUCO-initiative – a university cooperation between Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark and Faculty for International Studies, University of Jordan.

The Conference was organized by the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark and the Faculty for International Studies and Political Science, University of Jordan.


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