Atef Said


This thesis examines the Judges Club of Egypt [JCE] between January 1985 and March 2004. My research demonstrates that Egyptian judges rely on the JCE as a space for defending democratic reform and the independence of the Judiciary in Egypt. I will argue that while several laws and internal regulations within the Egyptian judicial structure forbid judges from being involved in any political activity, Egyptian judges craft strategic discursive mechanisms for expanding the role of the JCE beyond its seemingly confined function within the court. This thesis suggests that the JCE is a â meta-spaceâ [neither NGO nor officially part of the â stateâ ] in which judges debate controversial issues that often produce discursive shifts. By discursive shifts, I mean that their work motivates new ways of thinking and acting within the hegemonic judicial and legal contexts of Egypt. One example of the debates taking place within the JCE involves a debate over the separation of powers in Egypt. Examples of the mechanisms through which the JCE operates include written statements, general meetings, seminars, conferences, and proposals for new laws. By combining Marxist/ Gramscian and Foucauldian approaches to the meaning of law, with a focus on the concepts of power, knowledge, and hegemonic consciousness, this thesis suggests that while these judges are active participants in shifting discourses on law in Egypt, they are simultaneously constrained by a series of contradictory features related to the nature of JCE and the social status of judges in Egypt. While judges argue for democracy and equality, the nature of the JCE uses a hierarchical system that positions judges and prosecutors in posts of superiority and inferiority. Moreover, the judges themselves are socially positioned among the elite, which means that many of their own socio-economic positions and privileges often produce conflicting interests between themselves and the majority of Egyptian people who they align themselves with in the struggle for democracy and freedom.

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Date of Award


Online Submission Date

January 2013

First Advisor

Dwyer, Kevin

Committee Member 1

Dwyer, Kevin

Committee Member 2

Cole, Donald

Document Type



175 p.


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