A Phenomenological and Temporally Sensitive Approach to Revolutionary Outcomes: The Case of Egypt

Atef Said, University of Illinois-Chicago

In this paper, I call for shifting the focus from the structuralist bias in analyzing revolutionary outcome as well as the focus on retrospective teleology, or the tendency to studying a complex event such as a revolution through the the lens of a final outcome. I propose considering seriously the role of revolutionary actors’ experiences about the revolution’s outcome as well as how these experiences shift over time. I apply this approach to the case of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. I investigate how Egyptian revolutionary actors made sense of many successes and defeats across numerous moments after the the uprising in 2011 such as ousting Mubarak, putting Mubarak on trial, organizing free elections, forcing military regime to do security reform (albeit ending being a façade), expanding democratic process in public institutions such as universities, the expansion of independent trade unions, all followed by the military coup in July 2013, which many consider as the ultimate end and blow of the revolution’s goals. I also interrogate how actors made sense of this defeat in the aftermath of the military coup in 2013. The paper is based on an extensive ethnographic and historical research of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 17. Can Revolutions Be Permanent? New Approaches to Assessing Revolutionary Outcomes