Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Full Access The Youth and the Arab Spring: Cohort Differences and Similarities

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the Brill platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

The Youth and the Arab Spring: Cohort Differences and Similarities

Full text article:

  • XML
  • PDF
  • HTML
Add to Favorites

image of Middle East Law and Governance

The Arab Spring has been described as a youth rebellion driven by grievances about unemployment and dissatisfaction with existing regimes. In this article, we assess these claims by examining the characteristics of the current youth generation in the Arab world in comparison with earlier cohorts. We find that some of the conventional assumptions about this generation—that they are less religious, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to protest—are true, but others—that they are more supportive of secularization, more interested in politics, and more dissatisfied with their regimes—should be reconsidered. Using the first wave of the Arab Barometer survey, we discuss how patterns of political attitudes and behavior vary across cohorts, and cast doubt upon the claim that the Arab Spring was the result of an angry youth cohort that was especially opposed to the old regimes.

1. fn11) Authors listed alphabetically
2. fn22) Raggui Assaad, “Demographics of Arab Protests,” interview with Council on Foreign Relations, 14 February 2011,
3. fn33) UNICEF, A Generation on the Move: Insights into the Conditions, Aspirations and Activism of Arab Youth (Beirut: Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs, 2011).
4. fn44) Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “The Future of the Global Muslim Population: Projections for 2010-2030.” 27 January 2011,
5. fn55) USAID, “USAID Convenes Conference for Arab Youth Development,” press release, 14 November 2011,
6. fn66) Mounira Chaeib, “Young in the Arab World: Lebanon,” BBC World Service, 8 February 2005,
7. fn77) Ellen Knickmeyer, “The Arab World’s Youth Army,” Foreign Policy, 27 January 2011.
8. fn88) Nimrod Raphaeli, “Unemployment in the Middle East – Causes and Consequences,” Middle East Media Research Institute, 10 February 2006.
9. fn99) Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin and Ismihan Kilicarslan, “An Analysis of the Unemployment in Selected MENA Countries and Turkey,” Journal of Third World Studies 25:2 (2008): 189-205.
10. fn1010) Jack Shenker et al., “Young Arabs Who Can’t Wait to Throw off Shackles of Tradition,” The Guardian, 14 February 2011.
11. fn1111) Ibid.
12. fn1212) Gavriel Queenann, “Report: 70% of Arab Youth Want to Leave Region,” Arutz Sheva, 16 November 2011.
13. fn1313) Shenker et al., “Young Arabs.”
14. fn1414) Ibid.
15. fn1515) Ibid.
16. fn1616) Knickmeyer, “The Arab World’s Youth Army.”
17. fn1717) David Gardner, “Arab Youth Steps in Where Islamism Failed,” Financial Times, 10 July 2011.
18. fn1818) John Esposito, “Arab Youth Want Democracy, Not Theocracy,” CNN, 28 February 2011,
19. fn1919) Ibid.
20. fn2020) The World Bank’s figures on Internet usage suggest that in 2010, the Arab World was still lagging behind the global average in terms of internet users per capita by about 13%.
21. fn2121) UNICEF, A Generation on the Move.
22. fn2222) Ibid.
23. fn2323) Sara Sorcher, “Arab Youth Still Want Change, But Won’t Be Politicians,” National Journal, 4 August 2011.
24. fn2424) International Labour Organization, “Youth unemployment in the Arab world is a major cause for rebellion,” 5 April 2011,

Article metrics loading...


Affiliations: 1: Princeton University


Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Subscribe to Citation alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Middle East Law and Governance — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation