Egypt has been dominated by an authoritarian regime for decades now, which ensured its ultimate monopoly over power and government, as well as over civil society. Civil society in Egypt is a very important factor that determines the development of the process of democratization, as well as the political and social stability of the state. The role of civil society, the degree of its autonomy or its repression, reflects on all aspects of political, social and economic spheres. The lagging democracy and the augmented level of social repression and stagnation in Egypt, is due to the weakness of civil society. Egypt has been the victim of its failing and deteriorating authoritarian political systems, as well as the incompetent and unskilled political leaders that have been controlling and manipulating all expressions of social, economic and political life, including civil society. Rather than putting emphasis on the 'clash of civilizations' or the inhospitability of Islam to democracy, or considering Islam as being more compatible with authoritarianism, one should critically examine other factors and aspects that are hindering the progress of political change in the system and that are not allowing for democratization and liberalization to take place in Egypt.

The focus of this research is on the period initiated by the presidency of Hosni Mubarak since 1981, which is still intact and very powerful and domineering than ever. The lack of legitimacy on the part of the government, as well as the dominance of personalism and patrimonialism, has made the regime more repressive and despotic, especially regarding civil society, in order to ensure its powers and maintain the status quo. The authoritarian regime is particularly approached and examined in relation to civil society, as it is regarded a potential and prospective agent of political change and democratization in Egypt. Hence, the study aims at revealing the relation and dynamics between two collective political actors, the state and civil society, during the Mubarak regime, in addition to illustrating the development and progress of this relation, if at all. The research thus attempts to critically examine, assess and determine the potentialities and opportunities of the various civil society organizations of becoming effectual and capable channels for democratic change and political liberalization in Egypt.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Date of Award

Spring 6-20-2008

Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Ivan Ivekovic

Committee Member 1

Bahgat Korany

Committee Member 2

Maye Kassem

Document Type



vi, 169 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Civil society


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Call Number

Thesis 2008/33