Workshop: “After the revolt. The Middle East and North Africa between continuity and change”. Lisbon, 5-6 September 2017

Posted by Francesco Vacchiano

In the framework of the Research Project “Globally Sensitive” a two-day workshop has taken place at the Institute of Social Sciences of in Lisbon on the 5 and 6 of September 2017. The workshop was set out to discuss the political developments in the MENA region six years after the revolutionary wave that shook the countries of the area. The workshop was aimed at discussing the forms in which activism and social participation have evolved across the last years.

We took the cue from the first findings of our research, which show that a significant number of our interlocutors in Morocco and Tunisia consider that, despite its contradictory results, their societies have been substantially transformed by the revolts. However, due to the rapid evolution of the events on the ground, most analyses have focused mainly on issues of geopolitical significance such as security, alliances and battlefronts, emerging forces and obstacles to regional stability. In our perspective, the social impact of recent transformations and the ways in which people strive to build a sense of continuity and community are no less significant. The workshop has provided an updated picture of the events in the region and focused, at the same time, the social experience of people and communities. Delving into people’s daily concerns, imaginaries, expectations and relationships, we explored the lived experiences related to the current historical moment and their influence on the imaginaries for the future. The first session, introduced by Adam Al-Alou, PhD student in Political Sciences at ICS, examined the many conundrums of the civil war in Syria and the uncertainties produced by the lack of predictable sceneries. In the second session, leaded by the ICS researcher Marco Allegra, we examined how urban planning, designed to attract the middle class from the neighboring Jerusalem, has worked to ‘normalize’ Israeli occupation in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim (a site which is currently a target of further expansion plans: see the reportage by Ian Fischer on The New York Times in January 2017: The third session was dedicated to explore the conflict in Western Sahara through the perspective of the young Saharawi people who Rita Reis, currently PhD student at ICS, has met in the framework of her MA research. The second day was dedicated to young people, as this specific category emerges out of experiences of activism, migration, and citizenship. Hafsa Afailal introduced the Movement 20th of February in Morocco as a case study of our project and Chiara Diana presented her research on unaccompanied adolescent migration from Egypt to Italy. Hugo Maia, translator and independent researcher, discussed his work on young ‘agnostic’ or ‘non religious’ people in Morocco and José Sanchez Garcia, research professor of the University of Lleida, presented the results of the EU funded initiative “Sahwa”, dedicated to study youth across five countries of the Region ( The workshop was closed by screening the film “Khamsa”, directed by Marc Almodóvar and produced in the framework of the Sahwa project (

Cite this blog post
Francesco Vacchiano (2018, February 12). Workshop: “After the revolt. The Middle East and North Africa between continuity and change”. Lisbon, 5-6 September 2017. Globally Sensitive. Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

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