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Beyond the Arab SpringThe Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East$
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Mehran Kamrava

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384419

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384419.001.0001

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A Microcosm of the Arab Spring

A Microcosm of the Arab Spring

Sociology of Tahrir Square

(p.249) 9 A Microcosm of the Arab Spring
Beyond the Arab Spring

Bahgat Korany

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts by briefly situating Al-Midan (Tahrir Square) in Egypt’s modern social history, emphasizing its practicality as the meeting place of nine main arteries. This practicality helped the protesters overpower police forces and consequently compelled the security forces to flee as early as the evening of January 27, 2011. The second section explicates contentious politics as the chapter’s analytical framework and the third section focuses on what the chapter identifies as the three Ms: the Military; the Mosque; and the (Liberal-Leftist) Masses. The chapter argues that, group diversity notwithstanding, the initial spark of the Al-Midan protests was dominated by youth organizations like Kefaya and the National Coalition for Change (NCC) and their political socialization into mass protest groups. The emphasis here is on the contribution of these political socializing agents. However, disillusionment pushed the youth to establish their own organizations, such as Harakat Shabab 6 Abril (April 6 Youth Movement), and We Are All Khaled Sa’eed. The chapter also investigates the impact of new techniques of mobilization and framing, especially social media, in what has sometimes been dubbed the “republic of Facebook.”

Keywords:   Al-Midan, Tahrir Square, Egypt, Kefaya, NCC, April 6 Movement, social media

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