Micro-Dynamics of Repression: How Interactions between Protesters and Security Forces Shaped the Bahraini Uprising
Summary, in English
The article applies a micro-sociological approach to investigate civil-military relations in a very concrete form: How do interactions between protesters and security forces shape the development of a conflict? Based on fieldwork in Bahrain and interviews with activists, journalists and opposition politicians, the article analyses the micro-sociological dynamics of how, despite great numbers and momentum, the Arab Uprising in Bahrain was repressed without, however turning into a military insurgence as in Syria. The article argues that the Bahraini regime was able to repress and silence the February 14 uprising through; 1) non-intervention during the momentum of the uprising, 2) injuring, torturing, and imprisoning rather than killing protesters, and 3) employment of expats in the military and police. Zooming in on micro-sociological processes provides not only a detailed narrative of the events, but also a recognition of dynamics that are often overlooked, notably how particular forms of repression make people gather in solidarity and outrage, energizing further counter-action, whereas other forms of repression involving torture, imprisonment, and injuring, but no visible, lethal violence can de-energize a protest movement.