The Uprisings in Egypt : Popular Committees and Independent Trade Unions

Acconcia, Giuseppe. 2018. The Uprisings in Egypt : Popular Committees and Independent Trade Unions. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

By adopting Social Movement Theories (SMT) as a basic framework to analyse the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East, I disentangle the role of alternative networks and other forms of political conflict in reference to the Egyptian case in mobilising and forming a potential revolutionary movement. However, the intervention of the military junta, on the one hand, did not allow the proto-movement to develop into a revolution and, on the other hand, hindered the fulfilment of demands for “Social Justice” coming from the people.

This dissertation aims to test the hypothesis of how during the Egyptian 2011 uprisings the encounter in public spaces of more organised political oppositionists with other anti-regime elements demobilised the social movements associated with the so-called “Arab Spring”. Through participatory methods, the research hypothesis of this dissertation will be tested with reference to field work research involving Popular Committees and independent trade unions in two areas of Cairo and Mahalla al-Kubra. Driving factors for the differential impact of state repression and Political Islam on mobilisation will be identified through the analysis of the two in-depth case studies and, in a comparative perspective, with similar forms of political conflict in other Middle Eastern countries. Semi-structured interviews and participatory research will be used in order to conduct the analysis.

In this dissertation, I argue that during the 2011 uprisings in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood monopolised the space of dissent preventing the formation of common identities among the protesters. Especially social actors in the “Egyptian Street” (e.g. independent trade unions and Popular Committees) and other opposition groups (Liberals, Socialists, Leftists, anarchists) did not find any place within the post-uprisings government and finally have been demobilised by the politics and political discourse of a pseudo Neo-Nasserism, implemented by the regime after the 2013 military coup.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Arab Uprisings, Social Movements, Alternative Networks, Middle Eastern Studies

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 January 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

05 Mar 2018 11:17

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13


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