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SOAS professor examines political resistance in modern Middle East

Charles Tripp book cover

16 July 2013

The latest book by Charles Tripp, Professor of Politics at SOAS, University of London, explores peoples' resistance in the recent history of the Middle East.

The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East, published by Cambridge University Press, examines the forms and understandings of political resistance in a wide variety of settings.

The scholar looks at power wielded over others by absolute monarchs, tyrannical regimes and military occupiers, and the power of the people who resist these forms of domination.

In his book, Professor Tripp draws on the dramatic events in the modern history of the Middle East, from the violent uprisings in Algeria against the French in the twentieth century, to revolution in Iran in 1979, the Palestinian intifada and the recent uprisings across the Arab world. He considers the ways in which the people have united to unseat their oppressors in the hope of shaping a better future.

In an interview with Jadaliyya, the Arab Studies Institute ezine, the scholar said: “The origins of the book lay initially in my feeling that a great deal of space had been devoted to the analysis of elites, the resilience of regimes, and the dominance of the state in the Middle East.

“However, there did seem to be room for a book that tried to examine the other side of the coin: the ways in which people across the region had tried to resist or to protect themselves from dominant forms of power, whether local or international.

“The intention, therefore, was to re-assess agency amongst those who were not mere subjects of hegemonic forms of power, but who thought against the grain and acted against incumbent power in a variety of ways.”

Professor Tripp’s concerns on the issue led him to develop a Masters course at SOAS in 2008 on the Politics of Resistance in the Middle East

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The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East can be ordered via the Cambridge University Press website.