Drawing on theories of crowds—as elaborated by such scholars as George Rudé, Elias Canetti, Hannah Arendt, E. P. Thompson, Ervand Abrahamian, and Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt—Andrea Khalil seeks to explain dynamics and developments in Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. The chapters on Libya and Tunisia focus on events during and after the Arab Spring protests, while the chapter on Algeria puts the spotlight on 1988–89. Khalil is interested in the politics of noninstitutional actors; she is sympathetic to crowd politics and notes that crowds are always confrontational in their performance of power relations, although she concedes in passing that a crowd may be violent and fascist.

Khalil first introduces her classification of crowds in the Arab Spring: political crowds (heterogeneous and homogeneous); nonpolitical crowds (consumer, sports, religious); invisible crowds (Internet, tribal, the ghosts of martyrs). The first...

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