Ian M. Hartshorn
Dissertation Title: Corporatism, Labor Mobilization, and the Seeds of Revolution in Egypt and Tunisia
Committee: Rudra Sil (chair) Robert Vitalis and Julia Lynch
Summary: My research challenges the dominant narrative of a “social media revolution” in the Arab Middle East and situates the uprisings in the contentious relationship between workers and the state. By analyzing labor inclusion in the post-colonial period and exclusion under neoliberalism, I explain the types of regime-labor union ruptures that took place in Tunisia and Egypt. Workers freed from state domination developed new repertoires of contention, forged new alliances, and diffused knowledge to other activist groups. Using this starting point, my dissertation looks at unions’ efforts to reform state systems, while negotiating roles with legacy institutions, Islamist parties, and newly militant worker cadres.