Tahrir Sq. Location and Goal: On Changes in the Liberal Political Discourse in Post-Revolution Egypt

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Tahrir Sq. Location and Goal: On Changes in the Liberal Political Discourse in Post-Revolution Egypt

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Publication Bachelor thesis
Title Tahrir Sq. Location and Goal: On Changes in the Liberal Political Discourse in Post-Revolution Egypt
Author(s) Heinrich, Isaac
Date 2012
English abstract
Liberal Arab thought has long been fighting for elbow room in the political discourse in Egypt. The ruling nationalist–statist ideology from Nasser to Mubarak is renown for its repression of political dissidents, and the Islamist opposition often side with the ruling elite in its resistance against liberal reformers and democratization. Political liberalism is associated with a host of professional and personal risks and many are silenced. The Arab Spring revolutions across the MENA from December 2010 throughout the spring of 2011, however, seem to have revived the interest for liberal ideas in the Arab world. This thesis investigates the impact of the Arab Spring on the liberal Arab discourse in Egypt. It asks whether the revolution has lead to increased opportunities for liberal Arabs to voice their opinions, and how the tone of the public debate has been affected. A discourse analytical research method is used to scrutinize thirty opinion pieces from two major Egyptian newspapers in the timeframe November 2010–September 2011, on eight sample days. The work also considers 115 articles published after the revolution on the sample days to monitor the impact of the events on the public debate quantitatively. The study finds that the most salient feature after February 2011 in the op-ed material examined is the forming of the “Tahrir Square discourse,” a symbolically charged ideational entity that associates itself with liberal political rhetoric and values. It is a major influence during the stated period affecting 77% of the 115 post-revolution articles. The Tahrir Square discourse is an expression of a more permissive climate for voicing liberal and reform-friendly opinions, the thesis concludes. The empirical material exhibits more profuse mentioning of and advocacy for these values after the revolution. The tenor and rhetorical mode vary greatly in the studied articles; despite this, a broad support for the revolution itself is present. The study, however, is reluctant as to the permanence of these changes.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 64
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Tahrir Square
Arab Spring
Liberalism
Egypt
Egyptian revolution
MENA
discourse analysis
opinion articles
op-eds
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/15093 (link to this page)

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