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Generations and Protests: Legacies, Emergences in the MENA region and the Mediterranean
Call for papers for an edited book
Abstracts: November 4, 2013

The recent events in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere in the world brought forth the question of youth engagement and the development of new forms of protest (Jeanpierre 2011). New social media have been regarded as the principal means that federated various groups with opposing interests and represented a novel way to entice and maintain popular mobilizations. While the focus on social media has been discussed and sometimes fiercely criticized, the demonstration of the interconnectedness between different protest “moments” in the long term or on a diachronic axis remains extremely thin if not absent. The aim of this collection is to inquire and problematize the relations that exist between different periods of protest, the type of actors they mobilize and the processes of memory they generate. Although there is no clear line between these periods, we argue that certain kinds of legacies and relations are at play in the configuration of popular protests. The focus on the MENA and the Mediterranean is not incidental and requires much attention in so far as their societies have been described as dominated by neo-patrimonialism, tribalism as well as by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes that quashed contestation in its embryonic state, thus repressing and oppressing the populations for long periods of time. Not surprisingly, such an interpretation partially faded with the recent events of the Arab Spring but called in reverse for the term generation to explain this “sudden awakening.”

However, far from considering the term generation as a buzzword, there is a need to reassess it in light of the recent popular protests and conversely to analyse the latter through its lenses. What does the use of generation bring to scholarly understanding of the protests and the ability to articulate them? The social sciences have been reluctant to limit the concept of generation to its integrative function and to factors such as age, location or historical conditions, nor have they totally accepted that the notion of "contemporaneity" (Mannheim 1964), which putatively federates specific groups of social actors, to be a strong analytical tool. However, without neglecting or refuting the co-temporality that may reunite dispersed groups or the historical conditions that are constitutive in the production of a generation, considering the shared experience of various groups seems to provide a more complex understanding of the phenomenon. Indeed, not only does the shared experience refer to the contextual historical conditions but it also points to the reflexive capacity of actors who identify themselves (even marginally) as pertaining to the same generation. Thus, whether it captures the specificities of a given temporality or expresses a habitus (Eyerman, Turner 1991), one generation is constituted and produced against other generations.

Based on both empirical and theoretical categories, the experience on which a generation is produced and maintained is thus located in opposition to intergenerational continuity and memory. This begs the question as to whether the (necessary?) closure that defines a generation configures the flux of social change or constitutes an analytical category in which recede unceasingly “memories”, “lessons from the past”, “genealogies of remembrance” and “ways of doing”. If social change is inevitable, then how are histories of contestations and protests understood by the “now” generation? What roles do such histories play in the process of generational formation? Is the process of anamnesis, of selective forgetfulness of the past, a strategic recalling which serves to proclaim the birth of new ways of doing, feeling and belonging? The articles of this collection will deal with these questions and others in

1. Referring to specific national contexts and narratives.
2. Reconsidering the limits of the present and reassessing the past in youth formations.
3. Analyzing the dynamic between generations and memory formations.
4. Examining the function of media technologies and modes and modalities of communication.
5. Exploring the productions of subjectivities in examining the types of counter-publics produced by different generations.
6. Identifying the correspondences and the complexities between contexts and temporalities.
7. Problematizing place and space and the conditions of emergence of protest mobilizations and contestation.
8. Developing new methodologies and approaches to youth/generation clusters in the MENA and the Mediterranean.
9. Exploring the limits of the concept of generation, particularly the ways in which certain groups framed their struggle as first and foremost between freedom vs. oppression, democracy vs. Totalitarianism, or New Regime vs. Old Regime.

The examination of these points lies less on the comparison or the enumeration of the differences that exist between the struggles and contestation processes in given periods and situations than on the dis/articulation and the possible interconnectedness between generations, memory, mobilized slogans, words and images, and the political and cultural economies that sustain them. The chapters of the collection will offer a sociologically and a historically informed documented analysis and will employ theoretically interdisciplinary approaches.

Please send an abstract (minimum 450 words and not to exceed 550 words), a short biography (highlighting research and publications), and contact information by November 4, 2013 to professors Mark Ayyash and Ratiba Hadj-Moussa ( ;

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by November 20, 2013.

Article submission deadline is May 22, 2014.

More instructions and information on the submission of full articles will be included with notices of acceptance. Please note that the editors have made arrangements with an international publisher.
International Sociological Association