The 2011 Egyptian revolution and social change: examining collective actions towards transformations in public space

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This thesis explores some of the ways in which Egyptian men and women changed certain aspects of their reality through collective actions in public spaces during and after the 2011

This thesis explores some of the ways in which Egyptian men and women changed certain aspects of their reality through collective actions in public spaces during and after the 2011 Revolution. This thesis argues that the power of collective action which Egyptian men and women successfully employed in 2011 to bring down the thirty year regime of Hosni Mubarak carried over into the post-Revolutionary era to express itself in three unique ways: the combatting of women's sexual harassment in public spaces, the creation of graffiti with distinct Revolutionary themes, and the creation of protest music which drew from historical precedent while also creating new songs. The methodology of this study of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution lies is the use of newspaper reporting and online sources as primary source material. These sources include Egyptian newspapers such as Egypt Independent and Al Ahram, as well as scholarly websites like Jadaliyya, and also personal blogs. These accounts provide topical and up to the minute accounts of history as it unfolded. Primary source material is also drawn from oral interviews done during the summer of 2012 by the author and others in Egypt. The theoretical grounding lies in social movement theories that are centered on the Middle Eastern context in particular. Drawing from newspaper accounts and social movement theories this thesis is built around a notion of collective action expressed in unique ways in post-2011 Revolution Egypt. This thesis is also solidly grounded in the history of Egypt as relevant to each of the topics which it explores: combatting sexual harassment and the creation of graffiti and music. Relevant scholarly books help to inform the historical material presented here as context. This thesis is situated within the existing literature on the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and public history while also contributing something new to this area of study by examining the actions of ordinary men and women acting in public spaces in new ways during and after the Revolution. The existing literature on the 2011 Revolution generally neglects micro-level changes of the sort discussed in the topical areas to follow. The ordinary men and women who contributed to the Revolution are now part of the historical record, an example of the public making history par excellence.