Alaa El Shamy


The outbreak of the Arab Spring and the subsequent overthrow of Mubarak in 2011 gave ‎way to the rise of Islamists to power. The Muslim Brotherhood’s regime was perceived ‎by the Coptic community, in particular, as a real threat to Copts’ collective identities. In ‎response, ordinary Christians started to organize around religion as well as the religious ‎group to which they belong in order to manage perceived as well as real fears and ‎uncertainties prevailing at the time. This has eventually incited new patterns of ‎communal political activism among Christians, who seemingly embarked on “street ‎politics” rather than “electoral politics” in resisting the incumbent, which was ‎noticeably seen in the massive protests of June 30th, 2013. This thesis is an engagement with the underlying causes and mechanisms that were ‎motivating collective action of Copts during the Brotherhood’s rule. Broadly, it seeks to ‎establish a linkage between religion and politics. Utilizing a social identity theory and a ‎mixed-method consisting of both qualitative and quantitative indicators, I argue that ‎communal behavior of Copts was basically shaped by growing religious fears shared by ‎Coptic constituencies at the time while the Islamists were in office. Dynamics which ‎were transforming religious worries into real action are further discussed. The current ‎thesis contributes to literature on transition through its emphasis on the causes and ‎mechanisms that construct and reconstruct identities of “subaltern” religious minorities ‎‎(i.e., Egypt’s Copts) during times of sociopolitical transformation. ‎


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Graduation Date


Submission Date

March 2017

First Advisor

Koehler ‎, Kevin

Committee Member 1

Soltan, Gamal

Committee Member 2

Sunday, James


136 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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