Al-Ḥirāk Al-Shabābī Al-ʾUrdunī (the Jordanian Youth Movement): Organisation, Strategies and Significance for Social and Political Change in Jordan
Author(s)Blanco Palencia, Maria
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AbstractThis study examines Al-Ḥirāk Al-Shabābī Al-ʾUrdunī (the Jordanian Youth Movement), from now on the HSU, and aims to be a first scholarly attempt at mapping the organisation, strategy, challenges, and significance of this youth-led and youth-organised social movement. Taking an interpretive approach to organisational research, this thesis has used a wide range of primary and secondary data, benefited from extensive periods of participant observation as well as interviews with a variety of people including movement participants, in order to achieve a better understanding of the HSU. The main findings that result from this research show that the HSU is ideologically an umbrella to a variety of ideologies, from leftist or communists to Islamists, and that it chooses to organise informally and uninstitutionally in accordance with their political conviction of political parties and traditional opposition groups being a tool of social control for the regime. Politically, therefore, the movement represents a rupture with traditional politics in the country which are perceived by participants as part of a historically constructed system for exercising social control. Finally, the movement challenges traditional frames of ethnic and religious understandings of social and political subjectivities by mobilising a more inclusive discourse that tries to recover the debate on class struggle. Its political independence from other actors in the Jordanian political scene allows participant to raise more radical claims that seek regime removal as well as demands for reform, and these radical discourse within the movement greatly depend on the varying political opportunity structure in time determined by the Jordanian regime’s combination of conciliatory and repressive counter-strategies. An analysis of the strategic conversation between the regime and the HSU is key to exploring the social and political significance of movement strategies in bringing about change in the country as it determines the challenges to organisation encountered. However, relevant transformations in the culture of activism in Jordan are evident, and have the potential to transforming the future of political participation and organisation.
TypeThesis or dissertation