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Arab Society in Revolt. The West's Mediterranean Challenge


The Arab Spring will be remembered as a period of great change for the Arab states of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. The significant transitions in governance are the result of the profound social, cultural, and religious changes these countries have been undergoing for a long time. The European Union and the United States, caught unprepared by the uprisings, now must address the inescapable challenges of those changes. How will the West respond to these new realities, particularly in light of international economic uncertainty, EU ambivalence toward a "cohesive foreign policy," and declining U.S. influence abroad? The book explains and interprets the societal transformations occurring in the Arab Muslim world, their ramifications for the West, and possible policy options for dealing with this new world. The volume examines areas of change particularly relevant in the southern Mediterranean: demography and migration, Islamic revival and democracy, rapidly changing roles of women in Arab society, the Internet in Arab societies, commercial and social entrepreneurship as change factors, and the economics of Arab transitions. The book then looks at those cultural and religious as well as political and economic factors that have influenced the Western response, or lack of it, to the Arab Spring as well as the policy options that remain open.

Output of the project "The Mediterranean Microcosm in the Broader Relationship Between the West and the Arab-Muslim World" conducted by the IAI in cooperation with the Center for the US and Europe (CUSE) of the Brookings Institution and the Robert Schuman Centre (RSC) of the European University Institute (EUI). Presented in a meeting organised by the IAI, Rome, 6 September 2012.

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