New Social Movements: The Case of Youth’s Political Project in Egypt

Comparing the 1919 and 2011 Revolutions

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Dina El-Sharnouby Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics Free University Berlin,

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With the 2011 Revolution in Egypt, new forms of social mobilization and new possibilities for political interaction surfaced. The manifestation of these events suggested a different understanding of politics among particularly revolutionary youth. How do their values and practices affect political imaginaries? How are those imaginaries different from previous revolutionary struggles? This article highlights the political projects of the 2011 revolutionary youth versus previous revolutionary struggles by looking at youth activists and the case of the leftist Bread and Freedom party. Contrasting the Revolution of 1919 to 2011 in Egypt reveals a renewed call to social justice imagined to be practiced through the state and state institutions while minimizing ideology and a singular leadership in their mobilization strategies. Drawing on fieldwork done in 2014 and 2015, this paper suggests that the 2011 political project from youth’s perspective is about the importance of political practices of social justice over an ideology.

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