Jacob Høigilt

Senior Researcher

Jacob Høigilt
Email: jachoi@prio.org
Work phone: 22547787
Mobile phone: 41256832

Research Interests

  • Language in politics
  • Islamism
  • Arabic language and culture
  • Youth in the Arab world
  • Contentious politics

See also my profile at ResearchGate and Google Scholar​ for information on and fulltexts of my publications.

Current activities
Three major projects currently take up most of my time. From 2012-December 2016 I head the project Language Change in the Arab World, which is about the political and ideological dimensions of changing language practices in a number of Arab countries, notably Egypt and Morocco. The project has resulted in two major surveys, one of which has already been published. In addition to a number of articles written by the project participants, we will also publish an edited volume, and I will spend the better part of 2016 writing a monograph about the language and ideology of contemporary Arab comics for adults. The project comprises 12 researchers from the Arab world, Europe and North America. It has not web site, but please contact me if you are interested in learning more about it.

The second main project in which I am engaged is The New Middle East​, which is hosted by the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages. Within this project I focus on contentious politics in Palestine, with a focus on young people in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This project ends in December 2015.

Third, I am excited to take part in the project Aid in Crisis?, led by Kristin Bergtora Sandvik​ at PRIO, which investigates how rights-based approaches (RBA) affect the impact of humanitarian action. My task in this project is to study the Norwegian aid given to Palestine.​


Senior researcher, PRIO (2013-)
Adjunct associate professor, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo (2015-)
Senior researcher, Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies (2009-2013)
PhD fellow, University of Oslo (2004-2008)

PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo (2008)
Cand. Philol. in Arabic, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo (2003)


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.


Recent publications

Høigilt, Jacob; Kristian Takvam Kindt & Tewodros Aragie Kebede (2016) Writing Change: Diglossia and Popular Writing Practices in Egypt [Writing Change: Diglossia and Popular Writing Practices in Egypt], Arabica 63: 324–376.

All publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Høigilt, Jacob; Kristian Takvam Kindt & Tewodros Aragie Kebede (2016) Writing Change: Diglossia and Popular Writing Practices in Egypt [Writing Change: Diglossia and Popular Writing Practices in Egypt], Arabica 63: 324–376.
Høigilt, Jacob (2015) Fatah from Below: The Clash of Generations in Palestine, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. DOI: 10.1080/13530194.2015.1116375.
Høigilt, Jacob (2015) Nonviolent mobilization between a rock and a hard place: Popular resistance and double repression in the West Bank, Journal of Peace Research 52(5): 636–648.
Høigilt, Jacob (2014) Prophets in their own country? Hizb al- Tahrir in the Palestinian context, Politics, Religion & Ideology. DOI: 10.1080/21567689.2014.9656921–17.
Høigilt, Jacob & Frida Austvoll Nome (2014) Egyptian Salafism in Revolution, Journal of Islamic Studies 25(1): 33–55.
Høigilt, Jacob (2013) Islamism and Education: The Nature and Aims of Islamic Schools in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Middle East Critique 22(1): 63–76.
Høigilt, Jacob (2013) The Palestinian Spring that Was Not: The Youth and Political Activism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Arab Studies Quarterly 35(4): 343–359.
Høigilt, Jacob (2012) Elsker, elsker ikke… Libanon, Palestina og Syria, Internasjonal Politikk(4): 520–528.
Høigilt, Jacob (2011) Håndlangere for Hamas? [Handmaidens for Hamas?], Babylon 9(1): 108–118.
Høigilt, Jacob (2011) Hvordan forstå Muslimbrødrene? Islamisme i den arabiske og den europeiske konteksten [How to understand the Muslim Brothers? Islamism in the Arab and European context], Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift 28(2): 123–135.
Høigilt, Jacob (2010) Rhetoric and Ideology in Egypt's Wasatiyya movement, Arabica 57(2): 251–266.
Høigilt, Jacob (2008) Varieties of Persuasion in Modern Forms of Islamic Proselytizing in Egypt, Revue Des Mondes Musulmans Et De La Méditerranée(124): 243–263.
Høigilt, Jacob (2007) Islamism, Pluralism and the Palestine Question: The Case of Hizbullah, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 34(2): 123–136.
Høigilt, Jacob (2003) For en europeisering av islamismen ["Europeanising" Islamism], Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift(2): 146–152.


Høigilt, Jacob (2011) Islamist Rhetoric: Language and Culture in Contemporary Egypt. London: Routledge. Routledge Arabic Linguistics Series.

Book Chapter

Høigilt, Jacob & Kjetil Bjorvatn (2016) Youth and the Arab Revolutions, in Selvik, Kjetil; & Bjørn Olav Utvik, eds, Oil States In the New Middle East: Uprisings and Stability. London: Routledge (39–56).
Høigilt, Jacob (2015) Hizb al-Tahrir between Context and Ideology, in Adli Daana, ed., Islamic Hizb Ut-Tahrir In Palestine. Beirut: The Arab Institute For Research and Publishing (19–44).
Høigilt, Jacob (2008) Systemic Functional Linguistics and Contemporary Islamic Rhetoric in Egypt, in Ibrahim, Zeinab; & Sanaa M. Makhlouf, eds, Linguistics In an Age of Globalization. Cairo: American University In Cairo Press (181–191).

Non-refereed Journal Article

Høigilt, Jacob & Jon Nordenson (2014) Tahrir-litteraturen [The Tahrir literature], Babylon 2014(1): 92–100.

Conference Paper

Høigilt, Jacob (2014) Fatah from below: The clash of generations in Palestine, presented at World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies, Ankara, 21 August.
Høigilt, Jacob (2013) Failing Against the Odds: Palestinian youth activism in the West Bank, presented at Middle East Studies Association Conference 2013, New Orleans, 10/10/13 – 13/10/13.
Høigilt, Jacob; & Tilde Rosmer (2013) Failing Against the Odds? Palestinian youth mobilization in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, presented at Everyday life in the Middle East and North Africa, Lund, 19/09/13 – 21/09/13.

PRIO Paper

Høigilt, Jacob; Åshild Falch & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2010) The Sudan Referendum and Neighbouring Countries: Egypt and Uganda, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Høigilt, Jacob & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2010) Making Cooperation Attractive: Post-referendum Relations between Egypt and the Sudan, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Høigilt, Jacob (2014) Why is there no third intifada? An analysis of youth activism in the West Bank, NEWME Reports, 5. Oslo: The University of Oslo.
Høigilt, Jacob; Akram Atallah; & Hani el-Dada (2013) Palestinian youth activism: new actors, new possibilities?, NOREF Report. Oslo: NOREF.
Christophersen, Mona; Jacob Høigilt; & Åge A. Tiltnes (2012) Palestinian youth and the Arab Spring, NOREF Report. Oslo: NOREF.
Høigilt, Jacob (2011) Who's who in the new Egypt? A mapping of prominent actors of change, NOREF Report. Oslo: NOREF.
Rolandsen, Øystein H.; & Jacob Høigilt (2010) Egypt and the Darfur Conflict, NOREF Policy Brief, 9. Oslo: NOREF.
Høigilt, Jacob (2010) Darfur between war and peace, NOREF Article. Oslo: NOREF.

Book Review

Høigilt, Jacob (2014) Review of Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism, in American Journal of Islamic Sciences 31(4): 111–114.

Blog Posts

The Politics of Fun in Egypt

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 4 April 2016

Yes, this little piece will relate to Asef Bayat’s gem of an article ‘Islamism and the politics of fun.’ But first a comment on the current goings-on in Egypt. The last time I visited the country, in early February, the news about the murder of Giulio Regeni broke. The Italian PhD student was tortured for a week and then killed. The Egyptian security authorities deny that they have been involved, but nobody believes them, just as nobody believes them when they claim they do not abduct Egyptian citizens – the so-called ‘forced appearances.’ The murder of Regeni was chilling to ...

A Predicted Tragedy

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The last time that the Palestinians staged a collective uprising in anger and frustration was in 2000. Why is there a new wave of violence now? The Palestinians have been betrayed by everyone: by their own leaders, by Israel, and by the international community. Their sense of hopelessness has bred the recent uncoordinated knife attacks. The fundamental problem – one that is spoken of all too seldom by diplomats and politicians – is Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. In 2014, I wrote that any new Palestinian uprising would be chaotic, ineffective, and characterized by violent acts perpetrated by individuals. I ...

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet – Immediate Thoughts on the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 9 October 2015

The choice of the Tunisian quartet as the receiver of the Nobel peace prize is surprising, but by no means unreasonable. Unlike the case of US President Barack Obama, who received the prize for his intentions rather than his achievements, this time, the prize is awarded to politicians who are in the midst of a difficult transition process. The award should remind us just how remarkable it is that Tunisia’s political elite has managed to avoid armed struggle and civil war, when all the other countries affected by the Arab spring have descended into civil war or renewed authoritarianism. However, ...

Non-violent Resistance and Double Repression

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 29 September 2015

January 12, 2013: Israeli armed forces dismantle a peaceful Palestinian sit-in in the West Bank, arresting several of the organizers. July 6, 2012: the Palestinian Authority’s security forces violently attack a peaceful demonstration against normalization with Israel in Ramallah, the West Bank. These episodes illustrate the predicament of Palestinian non-violent activists. These activists experience what I call double repression, being harassed and persecuted not only by the Israeli occupation forces, but also by their own authorities in Gaza and in the West Bank. Yet it is this very activism that today holds the most promise for the Palestinian struggle against ...

Comics and the Liberation from Patriarchy

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Thursday, 23 April 2015

New media, new content Warning: This is all work in progress, so it leaves much to be desired. But this subject is so fun working on that I wanted to share what I have even if it is still pretty undeveloped. OK, here goes: During the last few years, the literary scene in Egypt has been enriched by a new kind of medium: Comics for grown-ups. Arab comics for grown-ups is a new cultural phenomenon which is only now beginning to attract attention, not least thanks to the efforts of Marcia Lynx Qualey, and it provides a rich, fun and ...

A Third Palestinian Intifada?

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 19 January 2015

The level of conflict in Jerusalem is now so high that more and more people are talking of a “Third Intifada” – a new popular uprising by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation – that would be centred in Jerusalem. In fact, there is little to suggest that a Third Intifada is imminent, but it does seem likely that there will be an increase in violence and unrest in Jerusalem in the future. In this article I will attempt to explain why. There are two immediate reasons for the recent increase in political violence among Palestinian Jerusalemites. First, there was the ...

Last Chance in the Middle East?

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 28 March 2014

This week, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 defendants to death after a two-day trial. Finally, after being mostly silent through more than half a year of brutal repression by Egypt’s military regime, Western governments expressed ‘shock’, judging the sentences to be ‘unacceptable’. Whatever the consequences this farcical trial will have for Western policies towards the military regime in Egypt (if any), it is probably going to be too little, too late. Since the military coup on 3 July 2013 over a thousand persons have been killed, and the super-rich Egyptians who fled the country after Mubarak’s ouster are starting to ...

Egypt: Silence Implies Consent

Posted by Jacob Høigilt & Kristian Takvam Kindt on Monday, 24 March 2014

​​Today’s death sentences of 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood must bring an end to the Norwegian Government’s tacit acceptance of the military regime in Egypt. ​Today, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, the latest in a number of moves towards authoritarian government by the military regime in Egypt. Since the coup d’état in Egypt on 3 July 2013, more than 1,400 peaceful protesters have been killed. The anti-Mubarak activists who manned the barricades in 2011 are now imprisoned. Journalists critical to the new regime have lost their jobs. All forms of organised opposition ...

Ein Hijleh: A new Boost for the Popular Resistance

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The grassroots popular resistance movement in the West Bank continues its strategy of reclaiming Palestinian land to highlight how Israel slowly annexes big parts of the West Bank. This time they did not establish a new village, like the case was in early 2013, with Bab al-Shams and its offshoots. Instead, they re-established an existing village in the vicinity of Jericho. Its inhabitants were expelled by the Israeli army, which established a base near the site. Their descendants have been denied access to the village ever since. Read more in the blog post published February 12, 2014 on the New ...

Diplomatic and Real Realities in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 25 October 2013

Over the last few years I have encountered a number of professional Western diplomats who express their disbelief in any serious Israeli intention of achieving peace with the Palestinians. To be sure, these diplomats also fault the Palestinian leadership for their ability to bungle almost any initiative and opportunity they encounter. But unlike the refrain in much of Western media and public opinion, they do not view Israel and the Palestinians as two equal parties with equal blame for the stalled peace process. They recognize that the onus is on Israel to achieve progress, and that while most Israeli politicians ...

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