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  • Anatomy of a Revolution: the 2011 Egyptian Uprising

    Mustafa Bal

    Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy under the Executive Committee of

    the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 2014

  • 2014 Mustafa Bal

    All rights reserved

  • ABSTRACT

    Anatomy of a Revolution: the 2011 Egyptian Uprising

    Mustafa Bal

    This dissertation offers a diachronic analysis of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

    This study holds that, regardless of its sui generis nature, the January 2011 Egyptian

    Revolution became possible as a combined result of a sociopolitical transformation in the

    Egyptian society in roughly the last decade of Mubaraks rule and several contingent

    events that took place right before and during the January 25 events. Sociopolitical

    transformations in Egyptian society were conceptualized along two dimensions: 1)

    Gradual changes in Egyptian sociopolitical life that occurred particularly on the last

    decade of Mubarak regime, and 2) Paradigmatic changes that took place during the 18

    days of protests. This ethnographic account of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution with

    involved political processes and mechanisms; and human agency that transformed and

    was transformed by those mechanisms and processes aspires to contribute to our

    understanding of 2011 Egyptian Revolution, and possibly revolutions in general, and the

    ensuing political crises that arise in transition periods after major political

    transformations.

  • i

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    LIST of MAPS, TABLES, and FIGURES ........................................................................ iv

    List of Maps ................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables ................................................................................................................. iv List of Figures ................................................................................................................ iv Map of Egypt .................................................................................................................. v

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ................................................................................................. vi Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 1

    1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 1 2. Statement of the Problem ......................................................................................... 2

    Chapter 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY .......................... 8 1. Study of Political Change ........................................................................................ 8 2. Political Transformation in Egypt and the Concept of Social Dramas .................. 14

    a. Mobilization of Political Capital ........................................................................... 15 b. The Encounter or Showdown ................................................................................ 15

    3. Revolution .............................................................................................................. 18 4. The Concept of Contentious Politics ..................................................................... 21 5. Methodology .......................................................................................................... 24 6. Limitations and Role of the Researcher ................................................................. 32

    Chapter 3: BRIEF HISTORY OF MODERN EGYPT ..................................................... 35 1. Foundation of Modern Egypt ................................................................................. 35 2. The Nasser Years, 195270 ................................................................................... 36 3. Sadats Years: ........................................................................................................ 44

    Part I: MOBILIZATION OF POLITICAL CAPITAL ..................................................... 51 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 51

    Chapter 4. MUBARAK'S RULE ...................................................................................... 53 1. Mubaraks Accession to Power and His Early Days ............................................. 53 2. The Political System in Egypt under Mubarak Rule ............................................. 55

    a. The Presidency ................................................................................................... 56 b. The Legislative Branch ....................................................................................... 57 c. The Judiciary ...................................................................................................... 58

    3. Authoritarianism and Characteristics of Mubarak's Rule ...................................... 62 4. Key institutions of the Mubarak regime ................................................................ 65

    a. Ministry of the Interior and the Egyptian Police Force ...................................... 65 b. The Intelligence Apparatus ................................................................................. 72 c. National Democratic Party ................................................................................. 77 d. The Egyptian Military ........................................................................................ 79

    5. State and Society Relations .................................................................................... 82 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 87

  • ii

    Chapter 5: PRELUDE TO REVOLUTION ...................................................................... 88 1. Kefaya Movement .................................................................................................. 88 2. Succession Question .............................................................................................. 92 3. Muslim Brotherhood .............................................................................................. 99 4. Salafism in Egypt ................................................................................................. 107 5. Youth Movements ................................................................................................ 113

    a. Phase One (2000-2003) .................................................................................... 114 b. Phase Two (2004-2006) ................................................................................... 115 c. Phase Three: (2006-2009) ................................................................................ 115 d. Phase Four: (2010-2011) .................................................................................. 118

    6. Return of Mohamed ElBaradei ............................................................................ 119 7. Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 123

    Part II: THE ENCOUNTER OR SHOWDOWN: 2011 TAHRIR REVOLUTION ....... 124 Chapter 6: 2011 TAHRIR REVOLUTION AS A SOCIAL DRAMA ........................... 125

    Introduction ................................................................................................................. 125 1. Breach of Peace ................................................................................................... 128

    a. Death of Khaled Said ........................................................................................ 128 b. 2010 Parliamentary Elections ........................................................................... 131

    2. Crisis: January 25, The First Day of Protests ...................................................... 136 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 136

    Timeline of the January 25, 2011 Uprisings ............................................................... 138 Crisis: January 25, The First Day of Protests ......................................................... 143 a. Innovative Collective Action ............................................................................ 145 b. Contingent Events ............................................................................................ 149 c. Certification ...................................................................................................... 164 Revolutionary Trajectories: January 28, The Day of Rage ..................................... 166 d. Constitution of New Political Actors and Identities ......................................... 170 e. Scale Shift ......................................................................................................... 172 f. Regime Defection ............................................................................................. 175 g. Decertification .................................................................................................. 186 h. Polarization ....................................................................................................... 189 Ritualized Protests as Rites of Passages ................................................................. 193 It Surprised us All ...