Egyptian uprising: Redefining Egyptian political community and reclaiming the public space

Author(s) Mervat Youssef, Anup Kumar
Contact Mervat Youssef, Grinnell College, 1115 8th Avenue, Grinnell, IA 50112, USA. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 6, Iss. 1, 2012, pp. 101-132
Published May 10, 2012
Type Comment
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to understand and explain the emergence of a public sphere and the articulation of a new Egyptian identity. We argue that the Egyptian revolution, catalyzed by the social media, was possible because the young men and women succeeded in reclaiming the public space from the apparatuses of the post-colonial state. There was a contest between the protesters and the regime over the meaning of Egyptian identity and what it means to be an Egyptian. The protesters were able to redefine the Egyptian public sphere and redraw its contour. Through a semiotic and discourse analysis of the repertoires of protest, the symbols, the slogans and the images at Tahrir Square and on social media sites, we hope to show how the youth-led massive social mobilization redefined and reconstructed the civil society and the Egyptian national political community (identity).
Keywords social media, Arab Spring, public sphere, Egypt, activism, social networks