Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism

Pages: 400
Imprint: Oneworld

Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism

Illiberal Intelligentsia and the Future of Egyptian Democracy

Daanish Faruqi, Dalia Fahmy

A nuanced investigation into the state of liberalism in Egypt
9781780748825 (5 Jan 2017)
RRP £25.00 / US$35.00

The Book

The liberatory sentiment that stoked the Arab Spring and saw the ousting of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak seems a distant memory. Democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi lasted only a year before he was forced from power to be replaced by precisely the kind of authoritarianism protestors had been railing against in January 2011. Paradoxically, this turn of events was encouraged by the same liberal activists and intelligentsia who'd pushed for progressive reform under Mubarak.

This volume analyses how such a key contingent of Egyptian liberals came to develop outright illiberal tendencies. Interdisciplinary in scope, it brings together experts in Middle East studies, political science, philosophy, Islamic studies and law to address the failure of Egyptian liberalism in a holistic manner - from liberalism's relationship with the state, to its role in cultivating civil society, to the role of Islam and secularism in the cultivation of liberalism. A work of impeccable scholarly rigour, Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism reveals the contemporary ramifications of the state of liberalism in Egypt.


The contributors to this volume are: Khaled Abou El Fadl, Ahmed Abdel Meguid, Sahar Aziz, Emran El-Badawi, Mohamad Elmasry, Dalia Fahmy, Daanish Faruqi, Joel Gordon, Amr Hamzawy, Ann M. Lesch, Abdel-Fattah Mady, Hesham Sallam and Emad El-Din Shahin.

Additional Information

Pages 400
Imprint Oneworld

About the Author

Dalia Fahmy is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Long Island University. She lives in New Jersey. Daanish Faruqi is a PhD candidate in History at Duke University, North Carolina.


‘A fiercely radical constellation of critical thinking indispensable for our understanding not just of Egypt...but in fact the very legacy of liberalism in the 21st century.'

- Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

‘An extraordinary and wide-ranging exploration of the Arab spring's excitement and reversal in Egypt.'

- Ebrahim Moosa, Professor of Islamic Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

‘This edited volume is an essential contribution towards understanding the current state of affairs in Egypt. The different chapters offer a sense of the underlying dynamics at work within Egyptian society (among the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, secularists and the youth). The reader is invited to consider the complexity of the situation and what it will take for Egyptian people to find their way towards freedom and justice.'

- Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, University of Oxford

The question of democracy in Muslim societies has generated heated debate on the role of mainstream Islamist parties and democratization. Can they moderate their views? Will they respect electoral outcomes? Are they committed to political pluralism? The same questions, however, have been rarely asked of liberal and secular forces who occupy the same political space. This is precisely what is unique about this book. Focusing on Egypt's Arab Spring democratic transition, it examines the political behavior of Egyptian liberals during the transition period and after the 2013 military coup. In doing so, the editors and contributors make an important and exceptional contribution to understanding both the persistence of authoritarianism in the Arab-Islamic world and the obstacles to democracy. It is a must read volume that challenges stereotypes and deepens our grasp of the politics and societies of the Middle East.'

- Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, and author of Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies