Fida Adely, Georgetown University and Betty Anderson, Boston University
In May and June of 2018, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets. What was initially a protest against a regressive tax bill, evolved into broader protests against neoliberal economic policies and specifically IMF-dictated austerity measures. Indeed, within days the chants of protestors – a diverse group cutting across class lines – specifically targeted the World Bank and the IMF (Ababneh 2018). Protestors were also spurred by growing unemployment and the rising cost of living. While protests have been intermittent since the late 1980s when the regime first began implementing structural adjustment policies, Jordanians have had to reckon with the new realities created by such policies. While protest has been one tool in responding to the challenges posed by these socio-economic changes, Jordanians also actively work to build a life and pursue aspirations for upward mobility. Young university graduates in Amman today are at the forefront of these efforts, as they have inherited a city, society and economy transformed. In contexts dramatically transformed in the past 10-20 years, they seek out ways to learn, labor and partake in the new leisure opportunities the city provides, whilst facing increasingly difficult economic conditions.