A. R. SHISHKINA
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Keywords: Arab Spring, protests, civil society, opposition, social identity
A series of mass protests in Arab countries that began in 2011 drew particular attention to the role of civil society and social movements in democratic transit processes. It is associated with the beginning of protests and mass demonstrations that ultimately led to regime change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, stimulated significant reforms in many countries, and provoked significant international tensions around, for example, the situation in Syria. Nevertheless, the question of the applicability of the phrase "civil society" to Arab countries remains the subject of scientific discussion.
Let's try to analyze this issue taking into account some features of the development of the modern world.
As a rule, the concept of civil society is perceived by researchers through the prism of the Western tradition, where it has been formed, developed and taken institutionalized forms throughout history.
It is generally accepted that civil society belongs to the "zone of voluntary social life outside the family or belonging to a clan" 1, therefore, "its strategic area is located between citizens and the state", but at the same time it is separated from market relations 2.
Thus, civil society consists of associations and organizations whose main purpose is to reflect and represent the views and interests of various groups of the population and to carry out activities and take appropriate measures. At the same time, the British orientalist, T. Niblock highlights important conditions for the functioning of relevant associations - first of all, independence from the state, commitment to the peaceful settlement of differences between individuals and communities, etc.
It should be noted that in this article, the nonviolent orientation of civil associations is considered as one of the main characteristics of civil society.
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