Jadaliyya launches DARS page: daily acts of resistance and subversion 28Mar13 March 28, 2013

Jadaliyya     -     26 March 2013


ToexistcopyThe DARS Page chronicles daily acts of resistance and subversion (DARS) in contemporary Arab societies and beyond. All forms of resistance and subversion to political, economic, social, or cultural forms of exploitation will be of interest. This includes resistance to authoritarianism, occupation, imperialism, and social norms, and the many ways these are subverted.

While acts of resistance and subversion are ubiquitous, the focus is conventionally placed on the grand and visible, even as these constitute a small portion of the daily actions of millions of people who find themselves resisting and subverting on a daily basis. We intend to cover and analyse both visible as well as invisible daily acts of resistance and subversion.

DARS aims to provide both empirical and theoretical means to capture a multitude of phenomen: personal or collective, visible or underground, nonviolent or violent. We are not locked into a political party nor into a single theoretical framework. We advocate a decidedly critical and contextualized approach.


Mainstream media coverage of the region—indigenous and global—for the most part ignores, distorts or marginalizes most acts of resistance and subversion. Therefore, these notions/acts require further interrogation and engagement both to better understand them as well as in order to increase their cumulative effects vis-à-vis forms of exploitation. Often, there is a “liberal” tendency to see resistance where none exists. Such illusion is counterproductive, both discursively and empirically, and usually serves to perpetuate the hegemony within which exploitation proceeds “legitimately.” DARS seeks to sharpen our understanding of the spectrum of resistance while considering its power operations.

DARS engages both individual and collective resistance, the relationship between them, with attention to the relationship between, and hierarchy of, local and global forms of exploitation. 

The Objective and the Moment

DARS seeks to establish a critical forum where the careful observation and analysis of these acts will permit us to ask political questions differently, and to identify new problems, forces, and possible solutions. The recent uprisings confirmed the increased decentralization of power and the multiplicity of actors holding forms of power. DARS’ approach moves beyond a simple consideration of the impact of acts of resistance and/or subversion on daily political struggles by examining the aspirations, ambivalences, and the fault lines of Arab societies.


DARS’ first objective is to reclaim the categories of resistance and subversion, beginning with the right to resist occupation and political repression, economic and social exploitation, cultural and artistic censorship, and so forth. This right to resist and subvert is conveniently equated in conventional discourse with terrorism or moral regression instead of a challenge to various forms of exploitation. Its second objective is to demonstrate that practices of resistance and subversion do not exist in a vacuum; rather, they belong to a history that has also, paradoxically, preserved, political, cultural and moral norms. The last objective is to understand and explain when and why actions that might seem trivial can make a significant impact on the political, social, and/or moral order.

Finally, a note on the difference between resistance and subversion may be in order. Both resistance and subversion can be tactical, but resistance is generally a broader category than subversion, and can be associated more with strategy. Subversion, on the other hand, is usually more tactical, often by virtue of the finite acts of subversion themselves. In other words, one can see resistance as “defying authority,” and subversion as “undermining authority.” Distinctions such as these will by no means be taken for granted, and will constitute one axis of discussion on DARS.

If you would like to submit an article, an experience, images, or other materials relevant to the DARS Page, email us at DARS@Jadaliyya.com


Inaugural Articles of the DARS Page


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