1st Edition

Subalterns and Social Protest History from Below in the Middle East and North Africa

Edited By Stephanie Cronin Copyright 2008
    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    The articles in this collection provide an alternative view of Middle Eastern history by focusing on the oppressed and the excluded, offering a challenge to the usual elite narratives. The collection is unique in its historical depth - ranging from the medieval period to the present - and its geographical reach, including Iran, the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, the Balkans, the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

    The first to focus on the oppressed and the excluded, and their differing strategies of survival, of negotiation, and of protest and resistance, the book covers:

      • both major social classes and sectors
      • the working class
      • the peasantry
      • the urban poor
      • women
      • marginal groups such as gypsies and slaves

    Based on perspectives drawn from the work of the great European social historians, and particularly inspired by Antonio Gramsci, the collection seeks to restore a sense of historical agency to subaltern classes in the region, and to uncover ‘the politics of the people’.

    Introduction / Stephanie Cronin

    Part One: The Urban Crowd and Popular Protest

    1. Street Violence and Social Imagination in Late Mamluk and Ottoman Damascus / James Grehan

    2. Women and Popular Protest: women’s demonstrations in nineteenth century Iran / Vanessa Martin

    Part Two: Poor People’s Politics

    3. Popular Protest, the Market and the State in Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century Egypt / John Chalcraft

    4. Workless Revolutionaries: the movement of the unemployed in post-revolutionary Iran / Asef Bayat

    5. Transforming the city from below: shanty-town dwellers and the fight for electricity in Casablanca / Lamia Zaki

    Part Three: Peasants and Nomads

    6. Resisting the New State: the rural poor, land and modernity in Iran, 1921-1941 / Stephanie Cronin

    Part Four: Marginals and Outcasts

    7. Exploring the Margins of Ottoman Society: "disorderly" Gypsies" / Failk Celik

    8. Emancipated Female Slaves in Algiers: marriage, property and social advancement in the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries / Fatiha Loualich

    Part Five: European Subalterns

    9. "Making It" in Pre-Colonial Tunis: migration, work and poverty in a Mediterranean port-city, c. 1815-1870 / Julia Clancy-Smith

    10. Foreign Workers in Egypt 1882-1914: subalterns or labour aristocracy? / Antony Gorman

    Part Six: Subalterns and National Movements

    11. From National Heroes to National Villains: Bandits and the formation of modern Greece / Gerassimos Karabelias

    12. Seizing the Initiative, Regaining a Voice: the al-Aqsa Intifada as a strategy of the marginalized / Roger Heacock


    Stephanie Cronin is Iran Heritage Foundation Fellow at the University of Northampton. Her most recent book is Tribal Politics in Iran: Rural Conflict and the New State, 1921–1941, also published by Routledge.

    'As an exploratory attempt to bring the methods and concerns of "History from below" to the region, the book is a clear success' - R.S.G. Fletcher, Asian Affairs, 2008

    ' In terms of historical span, extending from the 16th century to the present, and its geographical diversity, the collection is a unique contribution to the effort of recovering the subaltern margins of society' - Nazan Maksudyan, International Journal of Middle East Studies. 42 (2010)