Lived Citizenship and Uprising in the Middle East: Everyday Politics, Contestation and Belonging

Hania Sobhy

This project explores new ways of thinking about the everyday experiences that shape political outcomes in the Middle East and its diasporas. It became apparent with the first and second waves of the Arab Uprisings in 2010 and 2019 that new frameworks are needed for understanding the diverse experiences, resources and aspirations of Arab publics. Through a special focus on the theme of lived citizenship, it enquires into the ways in which citizens experience and shape the everyday realities of socio-economic, political and spatial governance and the narratives of identity, belonging and legitimation in these critical times. The lens of lived citizenship serves as a device for grasping how differentiated rights, obligations and forms of belonging are navigated and contested across categories of social difference.

To explore these themes, applications were invited for a first online workshop in 2021 and contributions were discussed in a second workshop in 2022, both co-organized with Salwa Ismail (SOAS) and Nadine Abdalla (AUC). Our special issue proposal won the 2022 annual special issue competition of the journal Citizenship Studies.

The special issue, co-edited with Nadine Abdalla, is expected for publication in 2023. It features contributions from prominent and emerging scholars that span the first and second waves of the uprisings and address questions around resistance in the margins, political subjectivation in struggles around natural resources and infrastructure, insurgent urban citizenship and the crafting of lived citizenship in diasporic contexts. Together, the articles offer a timely and critical engagement with the literatures on citizenship, contestation and belonging in the context of political upheaval in the Middle East.


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