Some have already taken to calling the events in the Middle East "the Arab 1848." Future generations, perhaps, will talk about the "spirit of 2011" when the ground begins to crumble beneath their own autocracies.
But are the same factors at work today as they were in past revolutionary surges? Some are undoubtedly similar -- throngs of disgruntled people have taken to the streets, questing for freedom and economic opportunity. Others, like the use of social media from YouTube to Facebook and Twitter, are undoubtedly new and different. Do the unfolding events of 2011 fit with our existing understanding of revolution or might they warrant updating?
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