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Being a young activist in the late Mubarak era

An ethnography of political engagement in Egypt

Onodera Henri

This monograph explores the lived experiences of young activists during the last years of Mubarak’s presidency in Egypt. Its general aim is to provide an understanding of what it was like to be involved in opposition politics during a period when the eventual end of Mubarak’s rule in 2011 was little more than a collective aspiration. By examining different dimensions of young activists’ political engagements that were oriented towards, but not exclusive to, public political processes and formal avenues to political participation, this study explores the activities that were regarded as meaningful in terms of challenging the status quo, and how being young in itself shaped the experience of participating in public political life. The emergence of new youth movements promoted a critical generational consciousness that enabled their members to gain a degree of autonomy in their efforts to promote popular mobilization via online and offline avenues. Being or becoming an activist also encompassed the adoption of dissident lifestyles that drew on global and local influences, meanwhile sharing everyday existence and constant interactions with peers, friends and others. Young activists were not, however, equally positioned to take part in public dissent, which required constant reflection on their oppositional stances in their immediate social environment, especially in terms of their future lives and livelihoods. The study focuses on the experiences of young Cairenes, who were predominantly male and aged in their 20s, acknowledging, however, that important differences existed among them that conditioned their efforts to acquire new visibilities and political roles, including social differences such as class, gender and global connectedness.

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  • Julkaisija Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2015
    Sivumäärä 241
    Kieli Englanti
    Sarjat Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitoksen julkaisuja
    Ulkoasu B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789515110091
    ISSN 2243-3635