There are weeks when decades happen: Structure and strategy in the Egyptian revolution

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Sociology, Egyptology & Anthropology Department

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Research Article

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This article analyzes the 2011 uprising in Egypt in order to understand how an entrenched autocratic ruler could be toppled in a mere eighteen days. Refuting arguments that focus on the role of the social media, or divisions among the elite, and the alleged neutrality of the Egyptian military, I argue that a revolutionary coalition of the middle and lower classes created a breaking point for the regime. Key features of this mass mobilization included the refusal of protesters to be cowed by state violence, the creation of "liberated zones" occupied by the people, as well as "popular security" organizations that replaced the repressive security apparatus of the state, and strikes that crippled the economy in the final days of the Mubarak era. My research is based on participant observation in and around Tahrir Square as well as dozens of interviews with Egyptian citizens. © 2012 Mobilization: An International Journal.

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