Introduction: Egypt in Revolution

  • Bernard Rougier
  • Stéphane Lacroix
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)


Over the past two years, Egypt has been neglected by the “Sublime Planetary Historic News Event,” to use Milan Kundera’s expression.1 Tahrir Square in Cairo, once celebrated as the emblematic site of an “Arab revolution” propagated through the Internet and social media, has been vacated by its globalized youth. We no longer understand what is going on in the biggest Arab country in the Muslim world—with a population of over 90 million—as if everyone had the vague feeling that they had been misled by the spinning wheels of image and commentary.


Presidential Election Parliamentary Election Muslim Brotherhood Registered Voter Egyptian Society 
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  1. 1.
    Milan Kundera, Slowness (trans. Linda Asher) (New York: Harper Collins, 1996).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Hazem Kandil, Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt (New York: Verso, 2012).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In a context of high institutional uncertainty, an issue is said to be existential when values and beliefs held to be fundamental for a given group are threatened with destruction. Perception of this type of issue increases the probability of a common and concerted action with respect to the mortal consequences of a lack of reaction on behalf of the group in question. On the rationality of fear, see Rui de Figueiredo and Barry Weingast, “Rationality of Fear: Political Opportunism and Ethnic Conflict,” in J. Snyder and B. Walter, Military Intervention in Civil Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999). Jean Leca also discussed the relationship between vulnerability and violence in “La rationalité de la violence politique,” in Le phénomène de la violence politique: perspectives comparatistes et paradigme égyptien (Cairo: Dossiers du CEDEJ, 1994).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nazih Ayubi, Overstating the Arab State (London: IB Tauris, 1993).Google Scholar
  5. Regarding the constant quest for legitimacy that characterizes Arab politics, see Michael C. Hudson’s classic, Arab Politics. The Search for Legitimacy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Gilles Kepel, Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and the Pharaoh, 2nd edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).Google Scholar

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© Bernard Rougier and Stéphane Lacroix 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Rougier
  • Stéphane Lacroix

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