Regulating Resistance : From Anti to Counter-Revolutionary Practice - and Back Again - in Bahrain

Mabon, Simon (2021) Regulating Resistance : From Anti to Counter-Revolutionary Practice - and Back Again - in Bahrain. PArtecipazione e COnflitto, 14 (2). pp. 743-759.

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On 14 February 2011 Bahrainis took to the streets demanding political reform as part of a broader wave of protests that swept across the Arab world. In the months that followed, the ruling Al-Khalifa family deployed mechanisms of sovereign power in an effort to ensure the survival of the regime. This article explores counter-revolutionary efforts deployed by the Bahraini state in an effort to eviscerate protest movements born out of the Arab Uprisings. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben's ideas about sovereign power, I argue that the Al-Khalifa regime was able to deploy a range of different tools in pursuit of survival, framing Shi'a groups as nefarious fifth columnists operating within a broader regional struggle pitting Saudi Arabia and Iran against one another. The article argues that while sect-based difference is an important aspect of contemporary Bahraini politics – facilitated by securitisation processes led by the Al-Khalifa – counter-revolutionary efforts have their roots in a state building project that gave the ruling family the ability to ensure their survival. This approach created an "anti-revolutionary" environment which prevented the emergence of widespread protest, yet when faced with serious challenges, anti-revolutionary processes morphed into counter-revolutionary mechanisms.

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PArtecipazione e COnflitto
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14 Sep 2022 10:40
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25 Nov 2023 00:29