Lineages of Revolt

Lineages of Revolt
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Published Date : 14 November 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1608463251

Book Author(s):

Dr Adam Hanieh

View the book page:

Lineages of Revolt

Review by:

Ben White

A number of books have now been published in light of the so-called "Arab Spring", covering different aspects of the uprisings that took place across the Middle East since late 2010. Adam Hanieh's book is distinctive, and a must-read. Lineages of Revolt offers the reader a serious, yet accessible, study of the region as a whole, its political economy, and an understanding of recent, unfolding events, beyond simplistic narratives.

Hanieh sets out his stall from the beginning, claiming to have written a book that fills a gap left by "conventional accounts of the Middle East" which "generally downplay questions of class". The SOAS-based academic intends his book to be a contribution to an analysis which traces "the patterns of capital accumulation in the Middle East, the structures of class and state that have arisen around it and their interconnection with capitalism at the global scale".

If that sounds "heavier" than the average Arab Spring-related fare then it is all the better for it, but it should be emphasised that Hanieh writes in an accessible and refreshingly direct way. His style is academic and rigorous, yet he also leads the reader through what he assumes could be new territory with a welcome teacher's clarity.

The chapters cover a framing of the relationship of imperialism to the region as a whole, the impact of neoliberal economic policies, the role of the Gulf states, and, also provides two further examples from North Africa and the West Bank. Together, the aim is to contextualise recent events in the changing regional economic and political structures, providing a thematic, rather than chronological or "country-by-country" analysis.

In doing so, Hanieh encourages a regional vision of national developments, looking at the ways in which labour and capital have crossed borders, and that a focus on the state has frustrated the kinds of insights gained by this broader perspective.

The material on Palestine similarly seeks to challenge prevalent assumptions, including those found amongst liberals sympathetic to the plight of those living under Israeli occupation. Hanieh argues that it is vital to look at the issue of Palestine as not simply a question of human rights but rather as connected to broader regional trends and how capitalism has taken shape.

Hanieh's is a Marxist analysis but a reader will greatly benefit from this evidence-based, materialist approach, regardless of one's own political or economic persuasions. This is a serious, invaluable addition to any Middle East library, and an enrichment of an understanding of regional events too often limited by simplistic dichotomies and liberal mythology.

Winners of the Palestine Book Awards

  • Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza
  • Tolerance Is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial
  • Reclaiming Humanity in Palestinian Hunger Strikes : Revolutionary Subjectivity and Decolonizing the Body
  • Psychoanalysis under occupation: practicing resistance in Palestine
  • Power born of dreams: my story is palestine
  • Al-Haq: A Global History of the First Palestinian Human Rights Organization
  • Sambac Beneath Unlikely Skies
  • Places of Mind: A life of Edward Said
  • Except for Palestine: The limits of progressive politics
  • A history of Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Faith, awareness, and revolution in the middle east
  • Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands
  • Against the Loveless World
  • The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017
  • Life in a Country Album
  •  There Where You Are Not
  • The Parisan
  • Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine
  • Stone Men: The Palestinians who built Israel
  • Nabil Anani: Palestine, Land and People
  • Where the Bird Disappeared