The 2011 Arab Spring constitutes one of the major events of the start of the 21st century and the starting point for important changes to the human and social science discourses devoted to the Arab world and to Islam. Bringing together diverse expertise and disciplines, this dossier interrogates the character of this revolutionary process, examines the status of the actors who emerged in the early stages of the uprisings, and proposes several interpretations of a historical, sociological or philosophical nature. The authors demonstrate – from their respective points of view and the different scientific tools implemented – that this process legitimately comes under the modern and universal category of “revolution”, and that it is not possible to relegate it to a secondary form of protest: such as riots, sedition or insurgency.
These other forms of contestation are certainly at the basis of the process, but the latter element goes beyond the others and corresponds with the dynamics observed and studied in major revolutions: French, American, English or other. The current appropriation of this process by the logic of religious dissidence does not bring into question this aspect of insurgency, or compromise the preceding approach. This is the reason for which this dossier also focuses on this theologico-political issue – as it emerged after 2011. Furthermore, it attempts to emphasise the complexity of the nexus between politics and religion; in which this issue of dissidence and revolution constitutes one intersecting element.