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Photo of Joel Abdelmoez. Photo.

Joel Abdelmoez

Doctoral Student

Photo of Joel Abdelmoez. Photo.

The 'Arab Spring' as a Milestone in Feminist Performance


  • Joel W. Abdelmoez


  • Fawzia Afzal-Khan
  • Sandra D'Urso
  • Tiina Rosenberg

Summary, in English

This chapter explores feminist performances in and after the so-called Arab Spring. Focusing mainly on Tunisia and Egypt, this chapter looks at the Arab Spring as a milestone which clearly marks a “before” and an “after.” It was a formative event, which provided new challenges and a new context within which feminist activists found themselves. While many had hoped that the toppling of old regimes would lead to a new, more open and free society, in many cases the opposite has happened. Feminists after the Arab Spring face even more repression, a crack-down on their organizations and many feminist groups have either had their assets frozen or been outright banned. This has led to new forms of organizing and feminist resistance. A key development explored in this chapter is the increased importance of digital platforms for feminist activism. The role of social media is often viewed as a significant factor in the (initial) successes of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, and although this view has also been questioned in that it downplays the importance of human beings sacrificing their lives and bodies by taking to the streets, there is little doubt that the media landscapes of Egypt and Tunisia today are vastly different than before 2011. The uprisings played a major part (indeed a milestone) both in ushering in a new political context, but also in the lessons that was learned in terms of how to effectively use social media and other digital tools to affect change.


  • Department of Political Science
  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World

Publishing year






Document type

Book chapter




  • Political Science
  • Performing Art Studies


  • Arab spring
  • feminist activism
  • performance studies
  • social media
  • social media activism
  • Middle East and North Africa (MENA)