The Arab Thermidor: The Resurgence of the Security State Memos

In 2011 uprisings broke out across the Middle East and North Africa, where people took to the streets demanding increased rights, freedoms, and in some cases the overthrow of dictators. Four years later, however, the region seems to be in the grip of a resurgence of authoritarianism. This Thermidor moment poses profound theoretical and analytical challenges to the study of the Arab uprisings and the potential for political change. On October 10, 2014 POMEPS and the London School of Economics and Political Science therefore brought together scholars based in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States for a one-day workshop in London to discuss this renewed authoritarianism across a wide range of countries, sectors, and dimensions.

Each participant in the workshop contributed a thematic memo, which will be available here individually, as well as in an upcoming POMEPS Studies collection.


The authoritarian impulse vs. the democratic imperative: Political learning as a precondition for sustainable development in the Maghreb,” John P. Entelis, Fordham University

Elite fragmentation and securitization in Bahrain,” By Toby Matthiesen, University of Cambridge

Militaries, civilians and the crisis of the Arab state,” By Yezid Sayigh, Carnegie Middle East Center

Arab transitions and the old elite,” By Ellis Goldberg, University of Washington

Is Libya a proxy war?” By Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Explaining democratic divergence: Why Tunisia has succeeded and Egypt has failed,” By Eva Bellin, Brandeis University

Fiscal politics of enduring authoritarianism,” By Peter Moore, Case Western Reserve University

The role of militaries in the Arab Thermidor,” By Robert Springborg, Sciences Po

Mass politics and the future of authoritarian governance in the Arab world,”  By Steven Heydemann, U.S. Institute of Peace

A historical sociology approach to authoritarian resilience in post-Arab Uprising MENA” By Raymond Hinnebusch, University of St Andrews

Security dilemmas and the ‘security state’ question in Jordan,” By Curtis Ryan, Appalachian State University

Authoritarian populism and the rise of the security state in Iran,” By Ali Ansari, University of St. Andrews

The resurgence of police government in Egypt,” By Salwa Ismail, SOAS, University of London

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