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The Arab Spring as the Trigger of a Global Phase Transition

Priority areas of development: humanitarian
2016
Department: Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: the research is aimed at revealing the main characteristics of the transformation of dynamics of sociopolitical destabilization in 2000-2012 both at the level of the World-System as a whole and in the Near East in particular. Another aim is to develop practical recommendations for avoiding or mitigating the risks of socio-political instability, and for the actions of Russian administration and organizations in the conditions of potential destabilization.

Methodology: the project is based on structural-functional approach (which implies viewing the political sphere as a wholistic system with a complex structure, each element of which has a specific target and performs specific functions aimed at satisfying the corresponding demands of the system) which allows for forecasting the post-crisis sociopolitical transformations.

The main method of research is the systemic method based on the modern theory of political systems. Besides, the research benefits from usage of situation analysis, methods of political sociology, as well as some substantial elements of political-historical and political-philosophical approaches.

Empirical base of research: The empirical base of research combines the usage of field materials collected during fieldwork in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and the USA; the usage of statistical data by World Bank, IMF, UN Population Division, CNTS, OPEC, EIA, as well as news of the Arab, Russian, and international news agencies.

Results of research:

General trends of the dynamics of integral components of sociopolitical destabilization indicators (anti-government demonstrations, general strikes, riots etc.) have been revealed both at the World-System level and in the region of the Near East in 2000 – 2012. In particular, the trends of impact of the Arab Spring upon the processes of sociopolitical destabilization at the World System scale have been revealed.

Trends of the dynamics of riots and anti-government demonstrations have been revealed at the World System scale. We show that when the CNTS observations started (1920s – 1930s) the riots prevailed over the demonstrations at the World System scale. This was true until the start of the phase transition A (the early 1960s) when the global intensity of major anti-government demonstrations equaled the number of riots. After the early 1980s the former visibly exceeded the latter; this trend continued during the Arab Spring.

The impact of the type of regime on the dynamics of sociopolitical destabilization has been established for the periods up to the end of the Cold War, between the end of the Cold War and 2010, and for the period of the Arab Spring. We show that the dependency between the type of regime and the level of socio-political instability has an inversed U-shaped form. The highest level of socio-political instability is observed in the intermediate regimes, while consolidated democracies and consistent autocracies are less prone to the risks of sociopolitical instability. We also show a pronounced asymmetry in this dependency, as autocracies experience a somewhat higher level of instability than democracies. Besides, this asymmetry experienced remarkable changes in the course of time. For the period up to the end of the Cold War the asymmetry was very weak; it strengthened after the end of the Cold War and became particularly pronounced during the Arab Spring. We reveal the reasons behind the changes of parameters of impact of the regime type upon the dynamics of sociopolitical destabilization.

We find empirical support for the Olson – Huntington hypothesis on the presence of a curvilinear inversed U-shaped dependency between the level of economic development and the level of sociopolitical instability. Up to a certain value of average income levels the economic growth leads to a strengthening of the sociopolitical destabilization risks. Only at their high levels further growth of this indicator leads to a decrease of these risks. Thus, higher values of per capita income are characterized by a negative correlation between the incomes per capita and sociopolitical destabilization risks, while lower values are characterized by a positive correlation. We show that up to a certain level (about $12,000-20,000 per capita) GDP growth contributes to the risk of destabilization processes.

The impact of the factor of dependency from oil prices and of oil price fluctuations upon the internal situation in various countries has been investigated. Our analysis has shown that a prolongated fall of oil prices leads to an increase of sociopolitical instability in oil-exporting countries, while their systematic increase is a powerful factor for the preservation of sociopolitical stability.

We have developed forecasts and practical recommendations regarding the further development trends and perspectives of the preservation of sociopolitical stability in the Near East.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The results of our research can be used in the following structures:

Presidential Administration of Russian Federation, Security Council of Russian Federation (we have positive experience of fruitful cooperation with these structures, first of all, in the sphere of applying the results of research on forecasting the global order in the period of global turbulence).

Rossotrudnichestvo (we have positive experience of fruitful cooperation with this structure, first of all, in the sphere of applying the results of research on sociopolitical transformations and risks of the developing countries).

Foreign Ministry of Russian Federation; governments of countries actively contributing to the international aid to development; international agencies of aid to development, governments and executive powers of various countries are also potential partners for who the results achieved at the Laboratory nay be of potential interest. 

Publications:


Иванов Е. А., Исаев Л. М. О методике оценки текущего состояния и прогноза социальной нестабильности в странах Центральной Азии // Полис. Политические исследования. 2019. № 2. С. 59-78. doi
Арабский кризис: Угрозы большой войны / Отв. ред.: А. Д. Саватеев, А. Р. Шишкина. М. : Издательская группа URSS, 2016.
Akaev A., Ichkitidze Y., Sarygulov A., Sokolov V. Social evolution in terms of economic dynamics: Eastern European countries between 1990 and 2014 // Social Evolution & History. 2016. Vol. 15. No. 2. P. 3-24.
Akaev A. From the Great Divergence to the Great Convergence, in: Dynamic Modeling, Empirical Macroeconomics, and Finance. Switzerland : Springer, 2016. doi Ch. 3. P. 35-88. doi
Victor D. M., Korotayev A., McGreevey J. Romantic Love and Family Organization: A Case for Romantic Love as a Biosocial Universal // Evolutionary Psychology. 2016. No. 4. P. 1-13. doi
Korotayev A., Issaev L., Shishkina A., Rudenko M. A., Ivanov E. Afrasian Instability Zone and Its Historical Background // Social Evolution & History. 2016. Vol. 15. No. 2. P. 120-140.
Гринин Л. Е. Мировой порядок, Арабская весна и наступающий период глобальной турбулентности // В кн.: Системный мониторинг глобальных и региональных рисков. Арабская весна в глобальном контексте / Отв. ред.: Л. Е. Гринин, А. В. Коротаев, Л. М. Исаев, К. В. Мещерина. Вып. 7. Волгоград: Учитель, 2016. Гл. 3. С. 191-239.
Коротаев А. В., Мещерина К. В., Исаев Л. М., Искосков А. С., Херн У. Д., Куликова Е. Д. Арабская весна как триггер глобальной социально-политической дестабилизации: опыт систематического анализа // В кн.: Системный мониторинг глобальных и региональных рисков. Арабская весна в глобальном контексте / Отв. ред.: Л. Е. Гринин, А. В. Коротаев, Л. М. Исаев, К. В. Мещерина. Вып. 7. Волгоград: Учитель, 2016. Гл. 1. С. 22-126.
Korotayev A., Zinkina J. V., Andreev A. Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends // Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution UC Riverside. 2016. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 204-216. doi
Shishkina A., Issaev L., Korotayev A. Egyptian coup of 2013: an ‘econometric’ analysis // Journal of North African Studies. 2016. Vol. 21. No. 3. P. 341-356. doi
Issaev L., Korotayev A., Shishkina A. Anatomy of the Egyptian Counterrevolution // Middle East Quarterly. 2016. No. 1
Исаев Л. М. Бесконечная война, или снова о Йемене // Неприкосновенный запас. Дебаты о политике и культуре. 2016. № 6. С. 238-248.
Issaev L., Korotayev A. Zaidiyyah Minority at the Yemeni Socio-Political Continuum // St. Petersburg Annual of Asian and African Studies. 2016. Vol. 4. P. 175-186.
Коротаев А. В. О некоторых современных тенденциях мирового экономического развития // Вестник Института экономики Российской академии наук. 2016. № 4. С. 20-39.
Гринин Л. Е., Коротаев А. В. О приближающемся кризисе в мировой экономике // Историческая психология и социология истории. 2016. С. 51-66.
Коротаев А. В., Слинько Е. В., Билюга С. Э. Тип режима и социально-политическая нестабильность // В кн.: Системный мониторинг глобальных и региональных рисков. Арабская весна в глобальном контексте / Отв. ред.: Л. Е. Гринин, А. В. Коротаев, Л. М. Исаев, К. В. Мещерина. Вып. 7. Волгоград: Учитель, 2016. Гл. 6. С. 282-325.
Исаев Л. М., Коротаев А. В. Воинствующая Аравия // Азия и Африка сегодня. 2016. № 8. С. 10-16.
Zinkina J. V., Korotayev A. Circumscription Theory of the Origins of the State: A Cross-Cultural Re-Analysis // Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution UC Riverside. 2016. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 185-203. doi
Исаев Л. М., Коротаев А. В., Шишкина А. Р. Арабская весна как квазисуперкритическое явление? // В кн.: Системный мониторинг глобальных и региональных рисков. Арабская весна в глобальном контексте / Отв. ред.: Л. Е. Гринин, А. В. Коротаев, Л. М. Исаев, К. В. Мещерина. Вып. 7. Волгоград: Учитель, 2016. Гл. 2. С. 127-156.
Grinin L. E., Korotayev A. Revolution and Democracy: Sociopolitical Systems in the Context of Modernisation // Central European Journal of International and Security Studies. 2016. Vol. 10. No. 3. P. 118-139.
Шишкина А. Р. Утвердится ли современное либерально-демократическое общество в условиях арабской смуты? // В кн.: Арабский кризис: Угрозы большой войны / Отв. ред.: А. Д. Саватеев, А. Р. Шишкина. М. : Издательская группа URSS, 2016. С. 187-195.
Шишкина А. Р. Политическая роль медиа: глобальный контекст // Электронный научно-образовательный журнал "История". 2016. № 4. С. 28-48.