This article outlines a theoretical framework for researching popular politics in the Middle East and North Africa. It sketches a Gramscian alternative to existing approaches in materialist Marxism, cultural studies, and social movement studies. It also aims to think a Gramsci useful to historians, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists, beyond the common loci of Gramsci scholarship in political theory, comparative literature, and international relations. With a start point in Gramsci's philosophy of praxis, it puts forward a concept of popular politics as a mostly slow-moving, complex, and many-layered transformative activity, a form of historical protagonism comprising a variety of moments, capable of working changes on existing forms of hegemony and founding new social relations. The point is to enable researchers in Middle East studies to see and research popular politics, carry on a critique of transformative activity, and inform transformation in the present.

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