Hania Sobhy, Ph.D.
July, 01 to July 07, 2014
Like the Mubarak regime before it, the post-June 30 political order bases its legitimacy on safeguarding a nationalist and ‘secular’ vision of the state and ‘saving Egypt’ from Islamist extremism. Despite important differences, official discourses continue to selectively employ Islamist themes and to rely on Islamist forces to stabilize the country. The ‘new’ regime seems equally committed to a neoliberal-Islamist vision of citizenship, where the ‘good citizen’ is expected to adhere to correct religious teachings, lift the country into progress, assist the less fortunate and ‘lead an economic life based on competition’. This presentation pieces together the key themes of official nationalism as propagated to Egypt’s educated classes in nationally-unified school textbooks before 2011, and key changes therein until 2014. It suggests that the perpetuation or intensification of these discourses, and the practices of government underlying them, threatens to recreate the crisis of legitimacy that led to the overthrow of Mubarak.
Hania Sobhy completed her PhD in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies and her BA and MA in Economics and Political Science at McGill University. She has taught Middle East Politics, International Relations, International Politics of Economic Relations and Comparative Politics at SOAS, Exeter and McGill. Her research interests include citizenship, nationalism and the governance of social services in the Arab region, especially in relation to the education sector, electoral mobilization in Egypt since 2011 and aspects of Islamist and post-Islamist discourses.
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