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Arab Spring - The Utility of the Foucauldian Notion of Resistance as Opposed to The Critical - Essay Example

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In 2011, the governments of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya were toppled in what was collectively known as the “Arab Spring.” Anderson (2011, p. 5) states that although all three of these nations had their regimes toppled, and all three of these countries are Arab countries, their situations are not homogeneous…
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Arab Spring - The Utility of the Foucauldian Notion of Resistance as Opposed to The Critical
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"Arab Spring - The Utility of the Foucauldian Notion of Resistance as Opposed to The Critical"

Download file to see previous pages Tunisia’s government was replaced because of protestors who were rural, and joined with labor, and that the Tunisian government was eventually replaced with a government which was amenable to labor. In Egypt, the cosmopolitan and educated young people organized the uprisings, and they soon were backed by the Islamic Brotherhood. However, these young people did not topple the government so much as the military did, and now there is a clash between the democratically backed Brotherhood and the military, and there is not yet a new power structure in place. In Libya, the country devolved into a civil war, as the power structure was voided and no new centralized power structure took its place, therefore, the nation is ran by tribes, and has been marked by multiple secessions, and kin networks are providing the goods and services, along with the safety and security (Anderson, 2011, p. 6). The question is whether the critical theory of international relations and emancipation mark these conflicts or do they more closely resemble the Foucauldian view of resistance? The short answer is that Egypt and Tunisia resemble resistance theory and Libya resembles emancipation theory. This paper will explain the two theories and show why each country more resembles one theory as opposed to the other.
Emancipation Theory
According to Dougherty (2001, p. 470), emancipation theory is based upon revolutionism, which, in turn, is one of the principal traditions of international-relations theory. Specifically, Dougherty (2001) states that revolutionism places human emancipation as being paramount, as it helps to reach “the fullest human potential” (Dougherty, 2001, p. 477). Devetak (1996, p. 155) states that critical international theory works to bring about radical change by removing constraints on freedom. To this end, Devetak (1996, p. 155) asserts that critical international theory underpins the theory of emancipation, in that it has as its focus the understanding of conditions which would make emancipation possible. Linklater (1990, p. 89) states that the other two traditions of international theory – realism and rationalism - are both based upon order and power. In contrast, emancipation theory is based upon individualism. Furthermore, emancipation, or revolutionism, forms the basis for critical theories of international relations whereas the other two traditions of realism and rationalism form the basis for traditional theories of international relations (Linklater, 1990, p. 90). Habermas, according to Goode (2005), promoted emancipation by stating that freedom is embodied in the public square of the bourgeois, while overlooking “antagonistic class relations” (Goode, 2005, p. 34). Neufeld (1995, p. 66) states that critical theory and emancipation have, at their roots, the theories of Kant, Hegel and Marx, although he credits Marx with bringing the theory into its maturation. Perhaps because Marx though that reason would somehow trump power structures and oppression, critics refer to emancipation theory as “Utopian,” although Wyn-Jones (2001, p. 58) states that while the principles underlying emancipation theory are utopian, the value of emancipation theory relies on this optimism. Devetak (1996, p. 157) further goes on to state that emancipation is based upon three concepts – autonomy, security and community. Autonomy means, according to Devetak (1996, p. 163) that individuals are free to live their lives without constraints which are unnecessary and are inhibiting to freedom. Security means the absence of threats, because autonomy cannot exist in the face of threats – threats curtail freedom, because if individuals are not safe, then they cannot pursue freedom. Among the threats ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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