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After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

University of Copenhagen via Coursera

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  • Provider Coursera
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 2-3 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 6 weeks long

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Learn why the hope and excitement of the Arab Spring is gone, why so many Arab states are falling apart, why the youth are so frustrated, why there are so many refugees, and what can be done about it.

The so-called Arab Spring appeared to end decades of exceptionalism and bring the Arab world back into the mainstream of global developments. The rebellions promised the return of politics and the reassertion of popular sovereignty against their corrupt and geriatric leaders. Much hope and flowery language greeted the young men and women who deposed their leaders and tried to build new, better societies.

Today, the Arab world is in deep crisis. Of the 22 member states of the Arab League, at least five have essentially collapsed: Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria exist only in name today, as their territories have fallen to competing, murderous armed groups. In the remaining countries, the old autocracies have reasserted themselves. The repression at home is now worsened by regional conflict on an unprecedented scale, and the resulting frustration has led to the biggest refugee flows in recent memory. What went wrong?

This course offers an overview of the structural shortcomings of Arab states and societies, which help us understand why the democratic awakening did not happen but instead “has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism.” This raises the obvious and renewed question whether there is something inherent in the Arab, and by analogy Muslim, condition that makes them special. Does this condition make this part of the world impervious to generally observable trends towards greater accountability, popular participation in political decision-making, greater generation and fairer division of economic wealth? Join this course to find out!

Taught by

Dr. Ebrahim Afsah

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Reviews for Coursera's After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure
5.0 Based on 2 reviews

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Taich T
5.0 8 months ago
Taich completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Excellent and one of the best I've taken. Dr. Afsah combines history, political science and sociology to the topic. The course is engaging and relevant for those wishing to better understand the complexities of this part of the modern world.
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Lisa R
5.0 6 months ago
by Lisa completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I very much enjoyed taking this course and learned so much in a very, short period of time. It took me a couple of weeks to get 'into the groove,' but once I did, I looked forward to every lecture and achieving the best results I could on the quizzes. I have the advantage of living in Paris, France, whereupon some of the issues discussed in the course are dominant, however I have never had an intellectual or historical guide to help me appreciate things I felt instictually, but could not prove or understand in a formal or scientific sense. With obligations and other challenging courses I am currently taking, my schedule is compact, but I very much look forward to taking the course 'Constitutional Struggles in Muslim Countries,' at a future juncture. I would recommend this course to anyone who has curisotiy and/or concerns of the role of the 'Arab World,' in global diplomacy and evolution.
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