Economic interests and actors in Arab countries and their role during and after the Arab Spring




  • Building Peace and Social Cohesion

The pilot study sets out to clarify whether economic driving factors have guided the behavior of actors during the 'Arab Spring' and in the following political processes. Within the framework of authoritarian political systems in the Arab world, certain political elites had acquired crucial roles in the domestic economies and in socio-economic development and consolidated these roles, generating comprehensive patronage networks. The focus of research will be on the economic positions and interests of political actors, guided by the question of whether and to what extent these positions and interests can explain support, inactivity, repression or violent suppression of protest movements in 2011/12 and active engagement or inactivity in the socio-political process following the 'Arab Spring'. 
Using a political economy approach combined with social theory, an interdisciplinary and international research team will conduct the pilot study in Egypt, Sudan (North), Jordan and Syria - four countries where political actors play a strong economic role but have been acting differently towards protest movements.

Project Leader

  • PD Dr Elke Grawert


  • Volkswagen Foundation

Duration of project

until 2015