Egypt’s Long Road to Democracy? (B.A. Thesis)

Lukacs, Nils E. Egypt’s Long Road to Democracy? An Analysis of the Approaches on Modern Egyptian History Between Two Revolutions. B.A. thesis. Konstanz University, Konstanz, 2012.

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Abstract

     The research project Egypt’s Long Road to Democracy? An Analysis of the Approaches on Modern Egyptian History Between Two Revolutions aims to put a historical perspective on the contemporary issue of the Arab Revolution in Egypt in 2011 and to describe the transformational process the country had undergone since the National Revolution in 1956.

     The methodological outline is based on the comparison between three historiographical approaches that have been predominantly used to take on the different issues of modern Egyptian history: Firstly, the ‘Western’ point of view, incorporates the country into the process of decolonisation and into the framework of the Cold War; secondly, the Arab Nationalist narrative follows Egypt’s role in the region’s independent movement, its Nationalist Revolution, and the various sociopolitical experiments it took the lead on; thirdly, the Islamic perspective focuses on the role of religion in politics, the apparent ‘resurgence’ of political Islam between terrorism and mainstream parliamentary politics. The predominant narrative of each of these approaches are outlined alongside with their main proponents in the academic community, as well as strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

      During key events of Egypt’s history in the second half of the 20th century, these three narratives have partially overlapped, albeit with emphasis on different aspects. This study demonstrates that the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 made it difficult, if not impossible, to analyse the country’s past under the premisses of these distinction. Taking into account predominant Western interests, massive popular mobilisation, and the undeniable factor of political Islam during the uprisings — the latter often marginalised in academic discourses, the call for an inclusive approach on modern Egyptian history is issued alongside an outlook for the ongoing revolutionary process.