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  • Author: Dina Wahba
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In my visit to Egypt in late March 2018, two things were happening simultaneously: the demolition of Maspero Triangle, the neighbourhood I have been working on for my case study, and the re-election of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for his second term. There was a big campaign banner, one of many engulfing Cairo, with El Sisi’s face and the slogan “You are the hope”. This banner on 6th of October bridge was overlooking the neighbourhood as the bulldozers were hard at work demolishing what was for years the homes of over 4000 families spanning generations. I was in a taxi trying inconspicuously to take pictures of the banner and wondering what my interlocutors would say when I ask them about how they view this promise of hope overlooking the destruction of their homes. I was also marvelling at the almost nonsensical sequence of events. In 2011 Maspero was one of the most militant neighbourhoods, among many in downtown and old Cairo (Ismail 2013), that defended the occupation of Tahrir Square. As it was adjacent to Tahrir, it played a crucial role in sustaining the square during the first 18 days of the uprising. Seven years after the revolution, the neighbourhood was faced with complete erasure. How did we get here? I argue for the productivity of looking at Egyptian politics through the lens of affect as a possible way to answer this question. As Laszczkowski and Reeves argue in their edited book Affective States (2017) “Affect is at the heart of those moments when the political catches us off guard or when it leaves us feeling catatonically suspended, wondering where we are, how we even go there, and when this became so ordinary”. In this paper, I examine one such moment: the demolition of Maspero neighbourhood that coincided with the re-election of Abd El Fattah El Sisi in early 2018. I investigate state-society relations and the shifts throughout those moments by looking at how one neighbourhood negotiated their survival that culminated in their removal. Much like the wider socio-political context in Egypt and the story of the Egyptian revolution itself, Maspero is a story of a negotiated failure. A youth-led movement that demanded basic rights, exhausted various political tactics to lobby the government and failed the bigger fight, but scored some victories, such as the ability of some 900 families to come back to Maspero after the development project is over. I argue that Maspero can uncover much about the wider political tribulations since 2011. The case offers a lens through which we can see political openings and opportunities, clampdowns and closures as well as the current regime’s agenda for ensuring that what happened on 25 January 2011 does not happen again. I claim that one of the tactics of the regime is to systematically deconstruct the politics of the urban subaltern that played a major role in the revolution (Ismail 2013) through urban reconfiguration as well as new and old methods of affective co-optation and coercion. In her analysis of state-society relations, Cilja Harders argues that “political science tends to privilege macro-level perspectives” rendering the urban subaltern as only passive subjects of political transformations (Harders 2003). I argue that this has not changed in analysing the aftermath of the revolution. Few studies discussed the role of the urban poor in the revolution; however, many scholars neglected the politicisation of the urban subaltern when analysing transformation (or lack thereof) in Egyptian politics in the last few years. After eight years, the situation seems bleak and the task futile. To argue for any kind of change, let alone transformation, one must be blind to the strong backlash against any attempt to capitalise on the temporary gains of the revolution. The only story left to be told seems to be one of failure. The utter failure of a reformist movement to impose even partially its agenda for change (Bayat 2017). However, the case of Maspero neighbourhood and its youth alliance allow me to trace the revolution back into the everyday politics of citizens in a crushing struggle with the regime to examine whether the revolution disrupted informal traditional ways of doing politics. Rather than examine radical or even reformist regime or legal changes in national politics, I am interested in informal politics and its disruption. “It is in the local scale that power relations become tangible and abstract concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘politics’ observable” (Hoffmann, Bouziane & Harders 2013, 3). Building on the work of scholars of everyday politics, street politics and politics from below, I focus, therefore, on the street and, more specifically, Maspero, a neighbourhood adjacent to Tahrir Square that lived the revolution with all its tribulations, a neighbourhood that affected and was affected by the revolution. I find Salwa Ismail’s work on the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution productive in unpacking and tracing the “everyday” in the Egyptian revolution. “The infrastructures of mobilisation and protest lay in the microprocesses of everyday life at the quarter level, in their forms of governance and in the structure of feelings that developed in relation to state government” (Ismail 2012, 450). Ismail’s argument highlights the quarters or neighbourhoods as spatial political laboratories where the urban subaltern, through rigorous negotiations and “every day” encounters with the different arms of the state, accumulates knowledge about modes of governance and how to resist them. This was obvious in the role that the urban subaltern played in the revolution and was reflected in the narratives of my interlocutors and highlighted in some of the scholar’s accounts of the revolution. In Ismail’s (2012) account of the “backstreets of Tahrir”, she narrates several important “battles” in informal neighbourhoods that she believes were vital to the success of the revolution. These “battles” manifest the moment of convergence between locally grounded grievances and national revolutionary politics. “The account of the battles serves to draw attention to the place of popular quarters in the geography of resistance, and to the spatial inscription of popular modes of activism”. (Ismail 2012, 446) The importance of Ismail’s account is in linking popular resistance to the spatial characteristics of the quarter, which brings up the question of what will happen to popular resistance when the neighbourhood is gone. I argue that the removal of entire neighbourhoods has a political purpose, that of dismantling the political laboratories and crushing street politics. In discussing the battles in Tahrir, Bulaq Abu Al-Ila features prominently in sheltering activists, defending the occupation of the square and engaging in prolonged street fights that exhausted the police and kept it from reclaiming the square. Ismail (2012, 448) links the neighbourhood’s repertoire of contention to a history of patriotism that goes back to the resistance of the French colonial conquest, again highlighting a spatially bounded accumulation of generational knowledge and affective register of popular resistance. The aim of my endeavour is not just to highlight the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution and the subsequent politicisation and depoliticization and what one may learn from it. It is also to link this to what the state has been learning about countering any possible future mobilisation in order to foresee state strategies of radically altering the “every day” modes of governance and with it modes of resistance and to connect this to the urgency of urban restructuring processes happening in Cairo on an unprecedented scale since the 1990s. Asef Bayat (2012) explores the politics of the urban subaltern in “neoliberal cities” in an authoritarian regime. Bayat offers the concept of “social non-movements” to analyse street politics (2012, 119). According to him, the streets are vital to the urban subaltern: he writes that “[t]he centrality of streets goes beyond merely the expression of contention. Rather, streets may actually serve as an indispensable asset/capital for them to subsist and reproduce economic as well as cultural life” (2012, 119). Bayat describes the ongoing conflict over the public space between the state and the urban subaltern as “street politics” (Bayat 2009). These ongoing processes consequently create the “political street”, hence, politicising ordinary citizens through their struggles over urban space. Some of the questions that arise here and reflect the limitations of Bayat’s arguments in this point of history relate to what happens to “street politics” when the urban subaltern loses the “political street”. Reflecting on the case of Maspero neighbourhood, what happens to the politicisation and cultural and economic appropriation when they are relocated to Asmarat, a far-off gated community out of central Cairo? What happens to the politics of the urban poor when they lose their “capital”? And, what kind of political and spatial affects are tied to this dispossession? One of the challenges of studying Maspero was to understand the affective attachments that people had to the neighbourhood. Drawing from the literature on street politics and Asef Bayat’s notion of encroachment (2009), I could understand materially the reasons why forcefully displacing people from their homes could be traumatic. However, as I witnessed them mourn the neighbourhood it became clear to me that there are reasons beyond what this literature can offer. Here, affect theories can be helpful. Yael Navaro Yashin calls for “a reconceptualization of the relation between human beings and space” (2012, 16). Yashin critiques what she calls “the social-constructionist imagination” in its focus on conceptualising space only through what humans project on it. Building on Teresa Brennan’s work on the transmission of affect, Yashin argues for affective relationality between humans and their environment. However, she does not take an object-centred approach but combines the human subjective approach with one that explores that “excess” in the environment that she studies through the lens of affect. Yashin’s work on the collision of the phantasmatic and the material is essential in understanding the “affect” of the neighbourhood. According to Yashin, “the make-believe is real” (2012, 10). Reflecting on the case of Maspero, the affective attachments that the inhabitants of the neighbourhood developed was built around the material, the encroachment, and the social networks but moved beyond this. To them, Maspero is their country and their home. Below one of my research interlocutors, a male resident of Maspero in his 30s explains to me the attachment of the people to Maspero Triangle. “We belong to this place; it is part of us, and we are a part of it. This place holds our memories and childhood. This is something that officials never understood. But we felt it. In this place I used to play, when I am upset, I like to sit in this place and talk to my friends. We are attached to this place not just because it is close to our work. We are linked spiritually to this place; our hearts are attached to this place. I do not want to go out. I do not want to live even in Zamalek, which is very close to us. I do not want to live there. We are attached to this place.” Nigel Thrift (2007) argues that for the political importance of studying affect in cities and affective cities to trace how affect and cities interact to produce politics. The interactions between space, bodies and affect are linked to political consequences. Thrift goes further to point to the political engineering of affect in urban everyday life and what might seem to us as aesthetic is politically instrumentalised. This engineering of affect can have various political aims. To erase emotional histories, create new affective registers or mobilise old ones in urban settings through urban restructuring (Thrift 2007, 172). Thus, it is not farfetched to argue that the urban restructuring of cities is linked to eliciting or inhibiting political responses. The massive plan of the Egyptian government to drastically change downtown Cairo, a space that witnessed a revolution has interlinked political and affective goals. It aims at erasing the affective register of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and inhibits the politics of the urban poor.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Revolution, Urban, Youth Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Maspero
  • Author: Abdülrahman Ayyash
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: On 28 January 2011 – as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated on the day dubbed the “Friday of Anger” – Muslim Brotherhood member, Sameh, was demonstrating with several thousand others in Mansoura in the Nile Delta (120 km north of Cairo). As demonstrators began to throw stones at the State Security Investigations building, Sameh stood in front of them shouting “peaceful”. He was hit in the chest by a stone meant to hit the building in one of the city's most prestigious neighbourhoods. Two years later, Sameh was arrested on an array of charges, including joining the Brotherhood and committing acts of violence against the state. A few months later, he told a friend waiting on death row that he considered the Muslim Brotherhood to be apostates and that he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Daesh) and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Sameh's case is not unique. According to several detainees – including current prisoners spoken to over the phone – there are ongoing changes among detainees who have spent most of their lives as Muslim Brotherhood members. Egyptian prisons host tens of thousands of political detainees – perhaps more than 60,000 according to Human Rights Watch.2 Arrests have mainly targeted members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. However, with increased armed attacks against the army and police, arrests have also targeted alleged supporters of Daesh, al-Qa’ida, and Islamists affiliated with smaller organizations. The Egyptian National Council for Human Rights documented prison overcrowding at a rate of at least 160%,3 forcing the authorities to build 20 new prisons since the military coup in the summer of 2013.4 Importantly, this has led to an increased exchange of influences and ideologies among detainees from diverse backgrounds. Detainees – those held after referral to the judiciary or sentencing – are often relocated during their detention, including frequent transfers to temporary detention centres during court hearings, or when brought before the Public Prosecution or for medical treatment. This further facilitates communication with different prison populations and discussion and exchange of ideas between detainees. This paper does not dwell upon traditional classifications imposed on Islamic movements in terms of moderate and extremist trends. Nor does it go into detail regarding the mechanisms of individual radicalization, though it does encourage further study. Instead, we focus on the developmental dynamics of Muslim Brotherhood youth and sympathizers in Egypt, especially those who were arrested during the breakup of sit-ins supporting former President Mohamed Morsi. Developmental dynamics refer to the conditions and contexts which Brotherhood members and sympathizers experience in prison. These inform broader understandings of issues including state and society relations, and social mobility through jihad as opposed to social mobility through the Brotherhood. This paper also discusses the ways in which the Muslim Brotherhood manages its members inside prison, and its attempts to maintain the Brotherhood's administrative and intellectual organization. It is based primarily on information collected during 10 rare phone interviews with current prisoners. It is also based on additional phone and face-to-face interviews with former prisoners inside and outside Egypt. The interviewees come from five different cities and have been in at least seven prisons, including Tora, Wadi al-Natroun, Mansoura and Gamasa; for security and technical reasons, it was not possible to expand the research cohort. The paper is also based on reviews of articles written by detainees, press reports, opinion pieces, and research papers dealing with the complex social phenomenon of the Muslim Brotherhood from different angles.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Prisons/Penal Systems, Arab Spring, Protests, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: The current Egyptian political scene reveals an important paradox: since its ascendancy to power in 2013, the military-led authoritarian government has not faced significant challenges from civil society despite systematic hu- man rights abuses and continuous societal crises. Apart from limited protests by labor activists, student movements, and members of syndicates, Egyptians have mostly refrained from protesting, instead hoping that the government will improve their living conditions despite a rising poverty rate of 33 percent, an inflation rate between 11 and 12 percent, and unemployment at eight percent. This popular reluctance to challenge the authoritarian government has continued to shape Egypt’s reality since the collapse of the short-lived democratization process from 2011–2013.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Rule of Law, Protests, Dictatorship
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Mohamed El Agati
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Egyptian state seeks to control civil society through laws and puts in place security measures to restrict its action, while civil society organizations, especially rights groups, deploy various strategies to ensure a minimal space for action. In this struggle, a solution lies not only in legislation enabling the participation of independent civil society but more in the opening of the political domain itself. In a context where the real danger lies in the continuation of a status quo that prevents the construction of a modern democratic state, civil society must build wider social and political network to enable it to influence state decisions and represent rights holders.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Amr Adly
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The economic and social rights movement has struck some success in working with contentious movements to challenge public policies and institutions in Egypt. However, no organic relationship developed between the two. The contentious movement did not strategically adopt an economic and social rights framing that would have enabled it to get beyond its local, largely apolitical and un-institutionalized characteristics in favour of a nationwide platform.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Heba Raoul Ezzat
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Animosity has been the keyword in the relationship between Islamists and rights advocates for most of the past few years in Egypt. Islamists turned a blind eye to many crimes committed by the regime and its security agencies between 25 January 2011 and mid-2013. On the other hand, some rights advocates took part in mobilizing and supporting the opposition movement that led to the June 2013 demonstrations and the military seizing power. However, the killings, executions, and other egregious rights violations, then the direct confrontation between the regime and rights groups culminating in a more restrictive NGO law, led rights defenders to take a firmer position, by condemning the regime, and monitoring and documenting its violations. More Islamists are expected to see an opportunity in resorting to human rights advocacy. As such, this would mean accepting more cooperation, especially in terms of monitoring and documentation through various initiatives and institutions established after 2013. Led by a new generation of actors, will this cooperation be free from ideological conflicts? The paper seeks to review, in broad brushstrokes, the contours and important turning points of the relationship between the two groups of actors and outline a possible future trajectory.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, Islam, NGOs, Repression
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, North Africa, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Secular political parties in Egypt have always been caught between an overbearing state and a largely Islamist opposition. The brief, chaotic political opening from 2011 to 2013 offered them unprecedented opportunities, but the violence and intense polarization that followed the military coup have put them under more pressure than ever. Formal politics in Egypt is now a tightly controlled game in which no real independence is allowed, but some secular parties might reemerge as contenders should there be another opportunity for free competition.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egypt’s new authoritarian regime is rapidly closing the public space—cracking down on autonomous civil society and independent political parties, asphyxiating the practice of pluralist politics, and thwarting citizens’ peaceful and active engagement in public affairs. The government’s primary strategy is to institute wide-scale repression through lawmaking and justify its behavior through conspiratorial and populist narratives. With unprecedented resolve, it has passed new protest and terrorism laws, introduced legal amendments targeting nongovernmental organizations, and extended the military court’s jurisdiction. Essentially, the regime is adapting lawmaking for its own purposes. To fight against the tide, those challenging the system need to fully understand how.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Amr Adly
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Large private enterprises are vital to Egypt’s economy and stability. After the 2011 uprising, they lost political sway due to their ties to the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak. However, Egypt’s economic crisis pushed successive regimes to reverse measures taken against these enterprises, affirming their role in economic revitalization. Though cut off from patronage networks after Egypt’s 2013 coup, enterprises are more autonomous from the state today. This may create advantageous openings if the state’s dependence on them grows.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Yara Shahin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper explores the state of internal governance in Egyptian human rights NGOs. It looks at their internal structures including; decision-making processes, the existence and role of governing boards, relationships with donors, levels of accountability and representation of constituencies along with the relationship with the government within a restrictive legal and political environment. It argues that while the restrictive environment for civil society in Egypt has hindered the development of stronger internal governance mechanisms in many organizations, the internal dynamics of these organizations have also contributed to the weak internal governance structures in most of them. The dilemmas that persisted through different generations and phases of Egyptian human rights organizations include balancing activism on public issues with bureaucratization and professionalization of vehicle organizations, the difficulty for and resistance from founders/directors to leave their influential posts, developing better participatory mechanisms of accountability towards the NGOs constituencies and addressing the “stigma” of foreign funding
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Adel Abdel Ghafar
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The state was the subject of political and political economic analysis in general in the post-independence period. This was also the case in the Arab region, where new states emerged with cumbersome civil bureaucracies and large military and security apparatus, and with huge powers to control the management and direction of (natural and human) economic resources. It was as if the burden of economic and social modernization had been placed on those newly independent States in the face of traditional societies lacking the social classes capable of advancing modernization, be they bourgeois or national proletariat. Despite the decline of the development models of the state by the seventies, the Arab state has continued to be the focus of analysis of development and modernization with the flow of oil money and the emergence of rentierism in most, if not all, the Arab countries, whether direct producers of oil or receivers of oil through secondary flows. This has placed emphasis on the importance of the state as a holder of wealth and as a source of distribution for different social strata.
  • Topic: Education, Reform
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Fouad Halbouni
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper explores how the emergence of revolutionary youth movements have destabilized the different forms of political and religious identification inherited from the world of the Mubarak regime. I am interested basically in showing how revolutionary politics introduced new forms of identification that broke with the exclusionary binaries upon which Mubarak's world was based. In order to track those transformations, one needs to take a second look at revolutionary politics, its disruptive force of all existent grounds upon which these political and religious identities had root themselves
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Yosra El Gendi
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: On October 13, 2014 in Corniche Street, Alexandria a police superintendent at a checkpoint and a navy officer engaged in a fist fight. The army officer contacted the military police which took the police officer and superintendent at the checkpoint to an army base where they were requested to stand hours in the sun as a form of punishment (Madgy et al., 2015). While many insist that these are individual incidents (Abdel- Aal, 2015). This is only one incident of at least 6 of clashes between members of both institutions since the 2011 uprising (Madgy, 2015). These incidents that point to the different security institutions’ extensive powers and the divisive structure in which they are based, a structure that was once called a “mamluk state” (al- Sherif, 2012). This points to the failed processes of state-building at the core of the institutional weaknesses in Egypt.
  • Topic: Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Yasmine Shash
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes a chronology of Egypt’s human rights movement since its birth in 1985 going through its different phases and generations until 2016. It starts with a brief history of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights, the challenges it faced and the conceptual differences that led to its fragmentation in early 1994.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Mark Lynch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Arab Islamist parties faced exceptional challenges and opportunities following the 2011 uprisings. After decades of facing authoritarian regimes, they suddenly had to navigate in radically new domestic, regional, and intra-Islamist contexts. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood had the most spectacular rise and fall, but its experience was atypical of other Islamist parties, which adapted more successfully. These changes overhauled the structure, ideology, and strategy of these parties in ways that unsettled long-standing expectations about their ideas and behavior.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Bart Hilhorst
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Ongoing expansions of hydro-infrastructure in the Nile basin, combined with infrastructure completed in the past decade, are increasing the capacity to regulate the Nile as well as the benefits accrued to the Nile waters. No longer reliant on funding from the World Bank and Western donors alone, Nile water development is accelerating in a number of upstream riparian states. Hence, the river Nile upstream of the Aswan High Dam is gradually being transformed from a natural to a regulated river. Hydro-infrastructure projects represent a strong driver for issue-based cooperation among the most affected riparians, but it is noted that the basin- wide perspective is not considered in these ad hoc arrangements. This paper describes the emerging cooperative regime in the Nile basin and analyzes its effectiveness. It presents an inventory of where cooperation among Nile riparians is needed, and discusses the required level of cooperation. It looks at the benefits of cooperation that are not related to a specific geographic area. The paper then identifies four distinct sub-basins that have substantial autonomy in managing their water resources. It concludes that the emerging cooperative setup is logical and for now quite effective, and does not lock in arrangements that may prove inconsistent—at a later point in time—with the overall objective of reasonable and equitable use of the Nile waters by each riparian state. Hence, the emerging cooperative regime arguably represents a positive step in the evolution from a basin without cooperation to a basin managed to optimize the use of the Nile waters for the benefit of its people.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Farah Ramzy
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Research focusing on non-formal political and social stakeholders/activists has been generally side-lined as a subject of political, sociological, and economic studies in the Arab world. This has been the case since the emergence of these sub-fields in the post-independence period of the 1960s, as Arab universities and research centres were founding their academic fields, until today. The exception that confirmed the rule was the Marxist approaches that succeeded in fostering a small but steady number of research groups interested mainly in workers’ and labor movements, and in particular unions, or in rural sociology as a reflection of the expression of class struggle within Arab societies.
  • Topic: Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Ismail Alexandrani
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: It is not yet clear what narrative will be told by history, but a dominant media narrative, the official one, has already been found for the on-going turbulence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It appears that social media in the Nile Valley has preceded its counterpart in the Sinai Peninsula in developing this narrative due to geographical and demographic factors which are out of the control of the security and military authorities in Egypt. The main bridge connecting the northern Sinai with the Nile Valley has been closed since 30 June, 2013 (setting transport links back to the time when ferries made their way across the Suez Canal between great sea ships) and the military and security authorities have, to a great extent, succeeded in concealing whatever is happening on the ground that contradicts their narrative
  • Topic: War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Egypt