ABSTRACT. The Arab uprisings were sometimes seen as calls for democracy, but we argue that in fact they were more accurately calls for social justice. Citizens across the region took to the streets to demand better economic, political and social outcomes including reducing levels of inequality, eliminating corruption and increasing respect for human dignity. These protests yielded significant changes across the region, including the downfall of numerous long-standing leaders. However, to what degree have their underlying calls for social justice been realized? By comparing data from nationally representative public opinion surveys conducted at the time of the Arab uprisings and a few years after these events, we find that citizens experienced some tangible improvements after the uprisings including declines in the importance of wasta. Still, major reforms targeting corruption, economic outcomes and to improve the effectiveness of government remain needed. pp. 127–157

Keywords: social justice; Arab uprisings; public opinion; protests; reform

How to cite: Robbins, Michael, and Amaney Jamal (2016), “The State of Social Justice in the Arab World: The Arab Uprisings of 2011 and Beyond,” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 8(1): 127–157.

Received 5 August 2015 • Received in revised form 19 September 2015
Accepted 19 September 2015 • Available online 1 October 2015


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University of Michigan, United States
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Princeton University, United States

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