The destructive effects of political violence have often obscured what violence is capable of bringing into being. Ironically, the repulsive fascination of violence may make us overlook what it is that lends it such drama, and the part it plays in narratives of power. These aspects have been highlighted when established power has been challenged by the performance of non-violent, as well as by violent resistance. Recent examples from the Middle East demonstrate that the outcomes may be uncertain, but the contrasting performances have helped to create distinctive political landscapes.
Charles Tripp is Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East at SOAS and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests include the nature of autocracy, state and resistance in the Middle East, the politics of Islamic identity and the relationship between art and power. He is currently working on a study of the emergence of the public and the rethinking of republican ideals across the states of North Africa. Together with other colleagues in the department he has been one of the founders of the Centre for Comparative Political Thought at SOAS. His publications include Islam and the Moral Economy: The Challenge of Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2006); A History of Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2007) His most recent book is The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2013).