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Discourses of the 2011 Arab Revolutions

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AbstractThis essay explores cultural discourses that framed the crucial first months of the uprisings that swept through the Arab world beginning in 2011. Methodologically, the essay seeks to show how the techniques of literary analysis can be used to understand the motivating factors of revolution. Three discourses in particular—human rights, progressive commitment and elegiac humanist—provided the practical, political and moral wherewithal for protestors to face overwhelming odds. These discourses were drawn from both Arab culture and world culture, and were a driving force in the revolutionary fervor that swept Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Bahrain.

Affiliations: 1: Simon Fraser University in Surrey British Columbia Canada, URL:


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