Time and location

Thursday, 28 January 2016, 19:00 - 21:00
Diplomatic Academy, Festsaal, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Rabab el Mahdi
American University, Cairo

Hamza Meddeb
Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut

Helmut Krieger
Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna/VIDC

Welcome: Magda Seewald, VIDC

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: seewald@remove-this.vidc.org

Arab Fall? Tunisia and Egypt Five Years After the Revolts

© istock/Joel Carillet
© istock/Joel Carillet


Five years after the beginning of the revolts in the Arab world no longer seems to remember those hopeful days and months of the year 2011. Former central demands for freedom, social justice and the abdication of the ruling elites act in the face of the reality of counterrevolutionary movements, war and flight now as calls from a distant past.

Even in supposedly more stable countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, basic living conditions for the vast majority of the population have not changed - not least these material conditions were indeed crucial starting point of the revolts. In Egypt reign again military in civilian clothes and think for a (cemetery) peace with the appropriate stability to ensure. In Tunisia is indeed organized the selection or deselection of new / old elites in the sense of a liberal democracy, but social and economic inequalities remain cemented subsurface.

So what happened to the central demand for social justice? What political and economic programs follow the new / old elites in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, and how much those are docked to a global economy? In what form up in Tunisia and Egypt again social and trade union protests across the Islamic / Islamist movements?


Rabab el Mahdi

is Associate Professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo.  She is also an activist with a number of opposition groups of in Egypt. El-Mahdi is a frequent commentator on several TV programs and writes op-eds for both Egyptian and international newspapers. She published extensively on social movements. Among her publications are:
“Egypt: A Decade of Ruptures in Taking to the Streets” (2014) (Eds. Ellen Lust und Lina El-Khatib)
“Against Marginalization: Youth, Class, and Revolution” (2012). In “Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt and the Middle East”
 “Beyond the ‘Women Question’ in The Egyptian Revolution” (2011) with Lila Abu-Lughoud
“Arab Spring in Egypt” (2012) as co-editor

Hamza Meddeb

is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his research focuses on citizenship, governance, and social justice in Tunisia as well as border insecurity in North Africa. Prior to joining Carnegie, Meddeb was Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, where he focused on the political economy of Tunisia's transition. Recently he published as ca-author “L’Etat d’injustice au Maghreb. Maroc-Tunisie“ (2015) with Irene Bono, Béatrice Hibou and Mohamend Tozy and with Georges Fahmi “Market for Jihad. Radicalization in Tunisia“ (2015).

Helmut Krieger

is a social scientist and researcher at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna as well as a consultant to the VIDC. His main research areas are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, movements of political Islam in the Arab world, critical state theories and postcolonial theory. One of his most recent publications is “Umkämpfte Staatlichkeit. Palästina zwischen Besatzung, Entwicklung und politischem Islam“ (2015).

Magda Seewald

has worked as a project manager at the VIDC since 2005. Her regional focus is the Middle East, in particular Palestine, where she also coordinates local projects. In this function she oversees the VIDC series on the Arab uprisings. Her other emphases include “gender”, “gender and armed conflicts” as well as “engaging men and boys for gender justice”. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Vienna.