To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Reclamation Master Frame: A Visual Study of the Arab Uprisings

Power and Protest

ISBN: 978-1-83909-835-2, eISBN: 978-1-83909-834-5

Publication date: 2 March 2021


We examine frames expressed during the Arab Uprisings that toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in 2011. Through a visual analysis of 3,506 photographs taken at protest sites, we identify a new type of master frame, the “reclamation” master frame, in which protestors assert their right to what they feel they should have but has not been delivered or has been stolen from them by dictators. In the cases we consider, protestors reclaimed their right to (1) integrity of governance; (2) a proud nation, and (3) the dignity of the victims of state violence. They framed their struggle as a redefinition of the relationship between state and citizens. Identifying the master frame of reclamation as central to the Arab Uprisings, we argue that it helps us understand how protestors sustained mobilization over days and weeks in the face of brutal repressions. We suggest that it opens avenues for research on protests in authoritarian regimes.




For helpful suggestions and comments on earlier versions, we are grateful to anonymous reviewers, Ari Adut, Ron Angel, Javier Auyero, Michael Brenner, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Mary Freifeld, Becky Pettit, Bryan Roberts, Nestor Rodriguez, Michael Young, and members of the Power, History and Society Faculty/Student Network at the University of Texas, Austin. We also wish to thank members of the Comparative and Historical Sociology seminar at the University of Texas, Austin, and of the New School for Social Research 2012 Annual Sociology Conference for feedback on early formulations of ideas presented here.


Charrad, M.M., Zarrugh, A. and Ha, H.J. (2021), "The Reclamation Master Frame: A Visual Study of the Arab Uprisings", Leitz, L. (Ed.) Power and Protest (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 44), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 11-35.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited