The Power of the Narratives - ethnographical insight about Jordanian youths and their negotiation over position and space for action

Ditte Ingemann Hansen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Abstract This thesis explores how cultural encounters between politically active youths in Jordan and global narratives regarding significant political incidents between 2010 and 2015 affect the category of being an activist. The incidents include: the Arab Spring; internal demands for democratization; increased radicalization; and the terror group Islamic State (IS) murder of a young Jordanian pilot. The narratives are respectively; the academic narrative by the political scientists Curtis Ryan and Marty Harris; and the official narrative by Jordan’s royal leader King Abdullah II; and narratives by Jordanian, politically active youth who are attempting to distance themselves from both of these dominant narratives. My main argument is that intersubjectivity, understood as a subject’s awareness of common experiences shared with other subjects, is highly influenced by the power of the narratives. The narratives by politically active youths are collected during five months of fieldwork in Jordan’s capital Amman and the suburb Dibarn. The theoretical fundament for analyzing and discussing the findings in this thesis includes; theory of narratives by Michael Jackson; theory of power by Michel Foucault; theory of authoritarianism; and research results in the Middle Eastern region by Asef Bayat, Samuli Schielke & Henri Onodera. My main conclusion is that the fight over the narratives of the development of Jordan is highly affecting the politically active Jordanian youths’ negotiation for position and space for action. In that way, the research question for this thesis is addressed; based on ethnographic research among Jordanian politically active youth, this thesis asks how narratives of these young Jordanians reflect the influence of recent and significant political events on their negotiation for position and space for action.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) KandidatInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato4 nov. 2015
VejledereSune Haugbølle


  • democratization
  • Narratives
  • intersubjectivity
  • Arab Spring
  • Jordan
  • youth