Living the “revolution” in an Egyptian village: Moral action in a national space

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ABSTRACT

Media coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011 focused almost exclusively on Tahrir Square in Cairo. How was the revolution lived in other parts of Egypt, including the countryside? I offer a glimpse of what happened in one village in Upper Egypt where, as elsewhere, daily lives were deeply shaped by devastating national economic and social policies, the arbitrary power of police and security forces, and a sense of profound marginalization and disadvantage. Youth were galvanized to solve local problems in their own community, feeling themselves to be in a national space despite a history of marginalization. They also used a particular language for their activism: a strong language of social morality, not the media-friendly political language of “rights” and “democracy.”[Egyptian revolution, countryside, youth activism, moral language]

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