Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Shannon Vaughn, Ph.D. (Committee Chair); Liam Anderson, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Awad Halabi, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This study examined the catalysts for social movements around the globe; specifically, why and how the Arab Spring uprisings led to regime change in Tunisia, why they transformed into civil war in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa (Syria), and why they did not lead to significant change at all in other places (Bahrain). The overall results of the study confirmed that political and socio-economic grievances caused the Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Bahrain, and Syria. Tunisian protesters succeeded in regime change because of a united and structured social movement leading to an effective transitional democracy in the country, whereas Syria and Bahrain used their coercive apparatus, with the help of foreign intervention, to suppress demonstrators. Thus, on the Syrian side, protests transformed into civil war. Keywords: Arab Spring; Bahrain; Middle East and North Africa; Protests; Regime change; Social Movements; Syria; Transitional Democracy; and Tunisia.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded