RPP 8: Data Sources & Interpretivist Research

  1. I am proposing to research uprisings demanding democratic reform in the Arab Spring.


  1. This is because I want to find out what explains empowerment of the middle- and working-class that allowed them to revolt against their authoritarian governments.


  1. In order to help my reader understand what discourse change empowered middle- and working-class people to effectively revolt against their authoritarian governments rather than succumbing to suppression.


How did it become possible for middle- and working-class people to influentially revolt against their authoritarian governments in the Arab Spring?

I’m analyzing two primary sources which represent a discourse analyzing what factors were represented to outsiders as emboldening Arab citizens to revolt against their government rather than succumbing to the suppression of their dictators. The object of inquiry, X, is the discourse regarding what motivated middle- and working-class citizens to stand up to their authoritarian governments. These two sources also represent how the discourse is broadcasted to outsiders from the conflict, making the actors contributing to the discourse empowering Arab Spring protesters foreign media and government documents.

The first is a speech given by Barack Obama, who was President of the United States during the Arab Spring.[1] It details the events that have occurred within all the countries affected by the regional chain of uprisings. It firstly creates an image of the Arab citizens protesting as change-makers for good who are motivated by their frustration, explaining Tunisia’s revolutionary beginnings as an emotional exodus: “that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country.”[2] This speech was given soon after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden through a US operation, so President Obama’s words were observed by many Americans and foreigners observing the conflict, and therefore interact with outside perspectives of the Arab Spring as well as other texts promoting an image of protesters.

Second is an article published by The Washington Post in the midst of the Arab Spring which includes interviews from demonstrators in Syria to explain what motivates them.[3] A Syrian student emphasizes that the demonstrations are secular and the protestors are “moved by freedom, by our sense of humanity.”[4] This text represents the discourse about the character of protesters to outsiders of the protests, while also interacting with a discourse being pushed by the Arab authoritarian governments being revolted against which claims the protests are being religiously motivated.

[1] Office of the Press Secretary. “Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa,” The White House. (Washington D.C.: 19 May 2011), 1.

[2] Ibid, 1.

[3] Tara Bahrampour. “Inspired by Neighbors and Technology, Syrians Join in Revolution,” The Washington Post. 16 April 2011, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/inspired-by-neighbors-and-technology-syrians-join-in-revolution/2011/04/16/AF3JPjqD_story.html.

[4] Ibid.