We continue to read how the personal income of Arabs is among the lowest in the world, despite their massive oil revenues. With declining productivity, poor scientific research, decreasing school enrollment, and high illiteracy, and with health conditions lagging behind comparable nations, Arab countries seem to be "richer than they are developed. Authoritarian regimes ranging from Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco to the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf and chiefly Saudi Arabia incidentally, most with close ties to the West have continued to frustrate demands for democracy and the rule of law, prompting religious opposition movements that espouse equally undemocratic, exclusive, and often violent measures. These conditions have at times caused much fear in the West about the international destabilizing ramifications of this seemingly social and political turmoil.
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Bayat has published widely on issues of political sociology, social movements, urban space and politics , the everyday of politics and religiosity, contemporary Islam , and the Muslim Middle East. He has conducted extensive studies on the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Islamist movements in comparative perspective since the s, the non-movements of the urban poor, Muslim youth, and women, the politics of fun, and the Arab Spring. Biography Asef Bayat was born in a small village located approximately sixty miles west of Tehran in an Azeri family.
Later, his family moved to the capital city, where his first experience of schooling was with an Islamic institution. However, by this time, he had become an entirely secular teenager, moving into leftist campus politics that he maintained throughout his higher education in the United Kingdom. Bayat has two children, Tara and Shiva.
Academic career and contributions After completing his B. Since , he taught Sociology at the American University in Cairo for some 17 years in the course of which he also held positions at the University of California at Berkeley , Columbia University, and was Fellow of St.
Bayat is the recipient of prestigious fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Ford and MacArthur foundations. This idea has instigated intellectual and political debates in many Muslim majority countries, in particular Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Iran.
Bayat has also contributed to social movement theory with his concepts of "quiet encroachment," "social non-movements," and the "politics of presence. Selected bibliography.
In Life as Politics, Asef Bayat argues that such presumptions fail to recognize the routine, yet important, ways in which ordinary people make meaningful change through everyday actions. First published just months before the Arab Spring swept across the region, this timely and prophetic book sheds light on the ongoing acts of protest, practice, and direct daily action. At heart, the book remains a study of agency in times of constraint. In addition to ongoing protests, millions of people across the Middle East are effecting transformation through the discovery and creation of new social spaces within which to make their claims heard. This eye-opening book makes an important contribution to global debates over the meaning of social movements and the dynamics of social change.
Asef Bayat Explained