Endnotes: Wandering in the Wilderness or Entering the Promised Land?

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article argues that one can analyze revolutions as ritual passages, as spatial and temporal liminality. In most Arab countries that experienced radical upheavals and revolutionary dynamics during and after 2011, people may feel ‘stuck in liminality.’ The aftermath of revolutions is what Arnold van Gennep termed the phase of re-aggregation and which Victor Turner also described as redress. Even in those states where institutional arrangements on the surface have been recomposed, perpetual crises seem everywhere. This situation characterizes a number of post-upheavals in the world. In this article, I draw on examples in Arab countries to reflect on how the current ends of revolution can be understood as perpetual liminality, and what it would take to exit liminality. I stress that legal and judicial processes are formalized and ritualized means toward re-aggregation, which have to go along with a cooling down of emotions and a taming of violence at the social level. This requires transforming the categories of ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ of a revolution and adopting the language of ‘ordinary politics’ to replace revolutionary language. The re-aggregation process, however, is complicated by the fact that new regimes gain their legitimacy from available symbols of the revolution itself.
TidsskriftMiddle East Critique
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)297-307
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 10 aug. 2017

Citer dette