Everyday Insecurities: Political Trauma and Bio-Political Repression in (Post)Revolutionary Egypt

By Vivienne Matthies-Boon
Submitted to Session P4997 (Revolution, Refusal and Rebellion: Past and Present, 2017 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
Egypt;
Current Events;
The Egyptian revolution and its aftermath has been commented on and researched extensively since 2011. Yet what has largely been absent from these analyses is how Egypt’s political upheaval and disappointing aftermath has affected people’s sense of self, their social relations and their perceptions of the world around them. Based on in depth testimonial research with 40 young Egyptian activists, this paper adopts a phenomenological approach that relays the deep existential crises provoked by Egypt’s traumatic political developments. In doing so, it particularly focuses on the repressive, bio-political, mechanisms with which the counterrevolution carefully and ruthlessly broke their idea of self, polarised their social and political relations and unleashed a profound sense of existential insecurity. This existential insecurity greatly impacted their everyday movements, interactions and activities and led to a cycle of destructive traumatisation with depoliticising effects. The paper argues that it is important to understand not only to understand the mechanisms with which the counterrevolution operates but also particularly the existential and traumatic impacts this has, in an effort to (re)humanise political debates on Egypt’s developments.