Governance and Government in the Arab Spring Hybridity: Reflections from Lebanon

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Unrepresentative and ineffective governance has been a key instigator of the ‘Arab Spring.’ However, analyses of the Arab Spring tend to limit ‘governance’ to ‘government.’ The Spring is exclusively framed as the bankruptcy of authoritarian government and the significance of the revolutions as an indication of resilient (non-state) governance is overlooked. This discards opportunities to build on existing and emerging non-state governance arrangements. Based on a critical review of the emerging literature dealing with the Arab Spring, this article argues that the state centrism underpinning the majority of analyses of the Arab Spring reflects an (implicit) adherence to the fragile state paradigm. With reference to Lebanon, a country on the brink of being sucked into the upheavals, the article offers a complementary conceptual frame for engaging with the Arab Spring. It proposes that studies of the Spring would benefit from focusing on ‘pragmatic governance’ in ‘hybrid political orders’ rather than on ‘fragile governments’ in ‘failing states.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-69
JournalContemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Arab Spring
  • governance
  • hybrid political order
  • Lebanon


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