Bliski Wschód 2011: bunt czy rewolucja?

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Timely, Middle East 2011: Rebellion or Revolution? looks at the roots of the historic uprisings sweeping the Middle East and offers a vision of how this upheaval will transform the Arab World and the world as a whole. Jerzy Zdanowski, Professor in Middle Eastern Studies, is asking what has taken place in the Middle East: a revolution or a rebellion? Answering this question, he refers to economy, society and culture of the Middle East, and stresses that the Arab Spring is a result of processes of long durée, namely erosion of patriarchalism, emancipation of women and sexual revolution, conflicts between generations, transformation of patterns of consumption, and emergence of new drama, poetry and music in the Arab world. Cultural anthropology indicates evidences of fundamental changes in cultural code of Middle Eastern societies. The author highlights the influence of global trends in economy and culture on the Middle Eastern society, and especially global financial crisis which in 2009 struck the Arab economies at the stage of their rapid growth on a wave of liberalisation and privatisation begun at the beginning of the 21st century. The transformation of their economies began, however, in the 1970s and produced fundamental changes in the social structure. The new middle class emerged as a consequence of centralisation, bureaucratisation, liberalisation and privatisation, and at the same time, the old middle class, called effendiyya, faced pauperisation and marginalisation. Social mobility was enormously dynamic in the Arab societies in the 20th century and is considered by the author a key factor for the understanding of present developments in the region. In the consequence of the neo-liberal economic policy, some segments of Arab societies were moving up, but some of them were moving down in the social hierarchy, and they were the ones who rebelled and revolted. The new social media contributed to the Arab Spring enormously and its role is investigated in the book together with the roles of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood, Arab armies, and of external actors – the USA, the European Union, Iran, and Turkey. But the factor that determines the present developments in the Middle Easy to the greatest extent is demography. The book emphasizes it and its influence on employment, education, standard of living, and the opportunities that the Arab youth have for a better life. The final chapter contains the outlooks for the region’s future and points to certain dangers, especially to populism. The book combines bibliography and chronology of events in the region from December 2010 to September 2011. As a whole, the book offers a vivid portrait of history in the making.
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