Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Egypt  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Egypt

ISBN 9780367179014
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
508 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Investigating key features of contemporary Egypt, this volume includes Egypt’s modern history, politics, economics, the legal system, environment, and its media and modes of cultural expression. It examines Egypt’s capacities to meet developmental challenges, ranging from responding to globalization and regional competition to generating sufficient economic growth and political inclusion to accommodate the interests and demands of a rapidly growing population.

The macrohistory of Egypt is complemented by the microhistories of specific institutions and processes that constitute separate sections in this handbook. The chapters revolve around political economy: it is shaped by the people and their abilities, political and legal institutions, organization of the economy, natural and built environments, and culture and communication. Politics has been overwhelmingly authoritarian and coercive since the military seized power in 1952; consequently, the contributions address both the causes and consequences of unbalanced civil–military relations, military rule, and persisting authoritarianism in the political society.

This multidisciplinary handbook serves a dual purpose of introducing readers to Egypt’s history and contemporary political economy and as a comprehensive key resource for postgraduate students and academics interested in modern Egypt.

Table of Contents


Robert Springborg

PART I History

Introduction: Occupation, independence, revolution

Anthony Gorman

1 Building the Egyptian state? Infrastructural systems, education, and urbanization (1919–2011)

Mohamed Gamal-Eldin

2 The ideological roots of authoritarianism in Egypt

Roel Meijer

3 Egypt’s foreign policy from Faruq to Mubarak

Nael Shama

4 Activism and contentious politics in Egypt: The case of the student movement

Hatem Zayed, Nadine Sika, and Ibrahim Elnur

5 Framing the past: Historian, state and society

Anthony Gorman

PART II Politics

Introduction: The evolution of military rule in Egypt

Sarah Smierciak

6 Genesis of coup-proofing in Egypt: Civil–military relations under King Faruq and beyond

Hicham Bou Nassif

7 The fingers of the "invisible hand": Egypt’s government institutions

Jan Claudius Völkel

8 Islamism in Egypt

Noha Mellor

9 Civil society and revolution (2000–present)

Hafsa Halawa

10 Egypt’s post-uprising foreign policy

Timothy Kaldas

PART III Economy

Introduction: A brief history of nation, state, and market

Amr Adly

11 State–business relations in neoliberal Egypt: The global political economy of subordinate integration

Roberto Roccu

12 Why Egypt’s trade policy failed to improve its external competitiveness

Chahir Zaki

13 Egypt’s foreign direct investment regime: Evolution and limitations

Mohammed Mossallam

14 The political economy of workers’ remittances in Egypt

Ayman Zohry

15 Encroachments: Land, power and predation

Bill J. Dorman

PART IV Law and human rights


Tamir Moustafa

16 Judges, elections, and constitutional politics after the 2011 Revolution

Jeffrey Adam Sachs

17 Lawyers and politics: Lawyering and counter-lawyering in Egypt

Heba M. Khalil

18 Law, exceptional courts and revolution in modern Egypt

Ahmed Ezzat

19 The Egyptian human rights movement: Between political autonomy and accommodation of authoritarianism

Bahey eldin Hassan

PART V Natural and built environments

Introduction: Visions and realities of the struggle for development

Aisha Saad

20 Sustainable water resource management in Egypt

Richard N. Tutwiler

21 Egypt’s conflicting urbanism: Informality versus new desert development

Deena Khalil

22 Livability of Egyptian cities

Ibrahim Rizk Hegazy

23 The cultural heritage of Egypt’s cities: Burden or resource?

May al-Ibrashy

PART VI Media and popular culture

Introduction: Divergent trajectories of creativity and coercion

Naomi Sakr

24 The culture police: Manning the barricades of allowable art and culture

Ramy M. K. Aly

25 Media ownership in Egypt (2000–2020): Categories and configurations

Tourya Guaaybess

26 Tweeting the revolution: The evolution of social media use in Egypt’s turbulent times

Rasha Abdulla

27 Ring-fenced religion? Egypt’s religious media between faith and politics

Ehab Galal

28 Cooperativism, revolution and the ‘digital turn’: Assessing recent Egyptian film collectives

Viola Shafik

29 The rise of indie music from the heart of Tahrir Square: Politics and popular music in Egypt

Nadine El Sayed

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Robert Springborg is Adjunct Professor at the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University and Nonresident Research Fellow of the Italian Institute of International Affairs. Formerly he was the Muhammad bin Issa (MBI) Al Jaber Professor in Middle East Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies and Director of the American Research Center in Egypt.

Amr Adly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the American University in Cairo. He worked as a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center. He is the author of Cleft Capitalism (2020) and State Reform and Development in the Middle East (2012). His works have been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals.

Anthony Gorman is Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Historians, State and Politics in Twentieth-Century Egypt (2003), and (with Monciaud) The Press in the Middle East and North Africa, 18501950 (2018). He continues to work on a history of the Middle Eastern prison, and aspects of the Greek presence of modern Egypt.

Tamir Moustafa is Professor of International Studies and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics, and Economic Development in Egypt (2007), and the co-editor of Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (2008).

Aisha Saad is Research Scholar in Law and the Bartlett Research Fellow at Yale Law School. Dr. Saad was previously Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the American University in Cairo where she helped launch the Center for Sustainable Development and the region’s first Masters in Sustainable Development.

Naomi Sakr is Professor of Media Policy at the Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, researching Arab journalism, cultural production, and human rights, including pan-Arab screen media for children. Her books include Transformations in Egyptian Journalism (2013) and reports on media laws and governance in the Arab region.

Sarah Smierciak completed a DPhil in Oriental Studies and an MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. In 2016 she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct research in Istanbul with Syrian and Iraqi communities. She is currently based in Cairo where she writes freelance political economy analysis and is finishing a travel guide to Egypt for the "Moon" series.


"Dr. Robert Springborg, is a respected American scholar of the Middle East who has published or co-authored many books on Egypt and the region. For this volume, he has assembled a team of thirty-six other authors, all of whom have excellent credentials [...] The reader [...] will come away with the impression that the authors all know their individual topics extremely well. As someone who has lived in Egypt and followed developments there for decades, I learned many new facts from this book. [...] This volume presents a wealth of accurate information on a variety of topics related to Egypt." 
William A. Rugh,  Arab Media & Society, July 2021