The Arab Uprisings and International Relations Theory
Marc Lynch, George Washington University, Curtis R. Ryan, Appalachian State University
The Arab uprising of 2010–2011 typically has been told as a series of loosely related national stories, happening simultaneously but successes and failures of which were essentially determined by internal factors. In recent years, political scientists have made great progress in evaluating the success or failure of each country’s uprising in terms of country-specific qualities, such as the types of domestic institutions, nature of opposition movements, wise or poor decisions made by leaders, and access to oil revenues (Brownlee, Masoud, and Reynolds 2015; Lynch 2014). Whereas the comparative-politics literature on the Arab uprisings and their aftermath demonstrates theoretical progress with sophisticated empirical analysis, there has been significantly less theoretical engagement by international relations (IR) theorists. (For exceptions, see Gause 2014; Katz 2014; Lynch 2012, 2014, 2016; Malmvig 2014; Owen 2016; POMEPS 2015, 2016; Ritter 2015; Ryan 2012, 2014, 2015; Salloukh 2013.) The articles in this symposium seek to redress that gap and to advance a productive dialogue between IR theory and Middle East studies.