The Moment of Change

Edited by Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet


Examines contemporary issues in Egypt. This book presents a series of analyses of politics, culture and society, including many by Egyptian academics and activists. It also addresses the turmoil created by imposition of neo-liberal economic policies, and the fragile nature of an authoritarian regime.
Egypt is at the axis of the Arab world. With the largest population, the largest industrial economy and the longest tradition of modern political activity it has profound influence across the region. But there have been few attempts to understand contemporary Egyptian society, in particular growing internal pressures for change and their implications for the Middle East and the wider world.

This book is the first for over 20 years to offer and accessible examination of contemporary issues in Egypt. It offers the reader analyses of its politics, culture and society, including contributions by several Egyptian academics and activists. This unique new book addresses the turmoil created by imposition of neo-liberal economic policies, the increasingly fragile nature of an authoritarian regime, the influence of movements for democratic opening and popular participation, and the impacts of Islamism. The authors argue that Egypt has entered a period of instability during which the 'low-intensity democracy' embraced by the Mubarak regime faces multiple challenges, including demands for radical change. This unique new book assesses the ability of the state to resist the new movements and the latters' capacity to fulfill their aims.

Author Bio

Philip Marfleet is Reader in Social Sciences at the University of East London. He has published widely in the fields of globalisation and migration, Middle East Studies, religious activism and cultures of exile. He has worked in as a journalist in the Middle East and North Africa, for international human rights organisations, and in universities in Britain and the Middle East. He is author of Refugees in a Global Era (2006).

Rabab El-Mahdi is Assistant Professor of Political Science at The American University in Cairo. She has worked at McGill University in Canada and for the Canadian International Development Agency. She has written on movements of protest in Egypt, on the Egyptian women's movement, and on modern Egyptian history. She is the author of Egypt's Feminist Movement: Different or Non-Existent? (2007).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet
  • 1. State and society Philip Marfleet
  • 2. Economic policy: from state control to decay and corruption Ahmad El-Sayed El-Naggar
  • 3. The land and the people Ray Bush
  • 4. Workers' struggles under 'socialism' and neoliberalism Joel Beinin
  • 5. The democracy movement: cycles of protest Rabab El-Mahdi
  • 6. Islamism(s) old and new Sameh Naguib
  • 7. Torture: a state policy Aida Seif El-Dawla
  • 8. Mubarak in the international arena Anne Alexander
  • Conclusion: What's next? - Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet


'Combines passion, scholarship and vision - a focused snapshot of this troubled moment in Egypt’s history with a competent resumé of how we got here. Its passion, clarity of thought and its vision should be an important contribution to the change we Egyptians know we have to make happen.'
Ahdaf Soueif

'Egypt is often referred to in the Western media as "a moderate Arab state" solely on the grounds of its friendly relations with the United States and Israel. But there is nothing moderate about its poverty, corruption, and political repression, as this book so ably demonstrates. Egypt: The Moment of Change is a valuable contribution to understanding the uncertain predicament of this important country.'
Talal Asad, City University of New York, Graduate Center

'The Editors produced an excellent and needed work, on that will certainly fill a void in the literature. In highlighting the basic issues in a straightforward manner and bringing these distinguished scholars together under one cover while at the same time, keeping their aims and discourse clear throughout the text, all involved in this project deserve our appreciation. This is one of the most up to date, critical, but academic, and well balanced work on today’s Egypt. For anyone and everyone interested in Egyptian or Middle Eastern politics and society, this is the book to read.'
Tareq Ismael, University of Calgary


Publication Date: 8 October 2009
200 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848130210
eBook ePub: 9781848136540
eBook PDF: 9781848135048
eBook Kindle: 9781780326764
Library Edition: 9781848130203

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