1st Edition

Revolution, Representation, and Authoritarianism Beyond Arab Exceptionalism in Egypt

By Sarah Wessel Copyright 2022
    294 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines Egypt’s turbulent and contradictory political period (2011-2015) as key to understanding contemporary politics in the country and the developments in the Arab region after the mass protests in 2010/11, more broadly.

    In doing so, it breaks new ground in the study of political representation, providing analytical innovation to the study of disenchantment with politics, democracy fatigue and social cohesion. Based on five years of intense fieldwork, the author provides rare insights into local and national ideas on politics, justice and identity, and on how people situate themselves and Egypt in the regional and global context. It analyzes how the creation of an alternate, political system was discussed and negotiated among the Egyptian population, the military, the government, public figures, the media, and international actors, and yet nevertheless today, Egypt has a new political regime that is the most repressive in the countries’ modern history. Finally, it recalls the emotions and perceptions of individuals and collectives and interlinks these local perspectives to national events and developments through time.

    This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of democratization and authoritarianism, Middle East Studies, political representation and informality, collective action, and more broadly to cultural studies and international relations.

    Foreword by Michael Saward


    1. Democratization and Authoritarianism Outside Formal Government Structures: Political Representation in the Making

    2. Conducting Fieldwork in a Revolutionary Context: Political Representations and the Shifting Research Facets

    3. International Thugs, Revolutionary Youth, and Remnants of the Old Regime—Emerging Political Actors and the Formation of Collective Identities

    4. Streets Versus Elections: Formalizing a Revolution?

    5. Visions for the State: Striving for National Unity and a New Political Representative System

    6. Negotiating Legitimacy: Free Elections Versus Street Politics

    7. The Realization of a Negative State Vision: Street Voting, Terrorism, and the Rehabilitation of a Repressive Regime

    Conclusions: Analytical Innovation Through Post-Revolutionary Egypt


    Sarah Wessel is an Associate Fellow at the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO), Germany, and works as Research Manager at the Berlin Center for Global Engagement at the Berlin University Alliance.