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Class politics and ideology in revolutionary Egypt

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:23 authored by Matthew Wainscott
Egypt's revolution of 2011 has attracted a significant degree of scholarly attention in the years following the dramatic events since Mubarak's ousting. Attempts to explain these events have come from a variety of theoretical standpoints, with a recent wave of Marxist explanations leading the radical interpretations of the events. These works identify the material conditions that ordinary Egyptians were subject to as one of the most significant explanatory factors in their analyses, but tend to downplay discussion of ideology. This thesis looks to the theory of Antonio Gramsci to explain the alarming continuity of authoritarian rule in Egypt, and places current events in a longer history of Egyptian capitalism. By focussing on the dialectical interconnection of the economic structures and the ideological superstructures, this thesis analyses how the dominant ideologies from Egypt's early integration in the world capitalist system have been reproduced, diluted, and systematically perverted by the regimes of republican Egypt. Separating class groups on the grounds of ideological affiliation, rather than strictly on their place in the nation's relations of production, allows for the contest between various political blocs under the leadership of competing fractions of the bourgeoisie to be at the core of the analysis. As such, while accepting that the uprising against Mubarak's rule was an organic expression of popular revolt against his rule, this thesis argues that the revolution was quickly subverted by a counter-revolutionary pushback by the bourgeoisie in its various guises. The ensuing contest between three fractions of the capitalist class, divided on ideological lines rather than economic, has demonstrated the enduring relevance of nationalism and the notion of a moral economy between state and workers. Ultimately, by looking at Egypt as an integral state- in which there is a dialectical unity of civil society and political society, we gain a fuller understanding of the disheartening outcome of the Tahrir revolution


Table of Contents

1. A theoretical foundation -- 2. State development, class, and ideology in early capitalist Egypt -- 3. Sadat and the origins of Egyptian neoliberalism -- 4. Mubarak 1981-2004: the neoliberal state takes shape -- 5. Mubarak II, 2004-2011 -- 6. Revolution and counter-revolution -- 7. Sisi triumphant -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 273-306 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lloyd Cox

Additional Supervisor 1

Jumana Bayeh


Copyright Matthew Wainscott 2018. Copyright disclaimer:






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