Leyla Dakhli, Project Investigator ERC DREAM (CNRS/Centre
Marc Bloch, Berlin)
“Learning to revolt”
This seminar is a proposal of the research group gathered around the DREAM project. Within the framework of this project, we are looking at revolutions in the Arab Mediterranean world. The aim is to understand how projects and dreams of emancipation are developed in the societies of the region. The ambition is important, perhaps a little excessive, it is based on a genealogical conception of history, inspired by the work of Michel Foucault. Genealogy is not a causalist approach that seeks regressions, origins. We are therefore not looking for a historical cause for the events that have been labelled “Arab revolutions” or “Arab springs” in 2010-2011. Rather, we are looking for clues to elucidate the conditions for the expression and deployment of multiple and multifaceted contestations that took place in the past or continue to exist in the present, or even those that were projected and were not put into action in political forms and may have slipped into other social worlds.
This programme also examines the notion of event in a multidisciplinary way. A privileged – but always complex – territory for historians, the event is here conceived as a territory to be explored, to be unfolded so that it can be elucidated. Tracing the revolt means first of all taking note of the heuristic capacity of the event, which allows it to be brought to light, to be shown. The two years of working together have enabled us to start unfolding a certain number of “moments-events”, and to identify recurrences and figures that can be spotted in this space and that can allow us to enter into comparison.At this stage of our work, after the writing of the book L’Esprit de la révolte and the work undertaken on the Algerian hirak (book to be published by the CNRS), the work on the “bread riots” (special comparative issue of the International Review of Social History), I think it might be interesting to identify some avenues of committed research, avenues that I claim for myself as a result of the collective and multiscalar work begun two years ago with the dream-team.
These avenues are reflected in the formulation of this seminar, and they are intended to be extended in much of the discussions during the seminar. Other avenues and part of them also extend into the individual work of researchers, who will hopefully present them here.
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