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The Egyptian Dream

Egyptian National Identity and Uprisings

Noha Mellor

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Explores the struggle to define Egyptian national identity post-independence

The story of Egyptian identity from the beginning of the twentieth century is one constructed by statesmen, intellectuals and Islamic thinkers. This book argues that the current fragmentation of Egypt's political scene reflects the increasing social division in a country where 'the people' are demanding a redefinition of their national identity. Scrutinising the society behind the uprisings that began in 2011 and their diverse economic, ideological and sectorial demands, it also looks at the desperate state's attempt to construct a unified Egyptian identity – an attempt which has resulted in further splitting Egyptian society.

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Contents

Preface
Introduction: Weak state – weak society
1. Mother Egypt: the gift of the Nile
2. Ibn al-balad: the true son of Egypt
3. Misri Effendi - The squeezed middle-class
4. The ‘As if’ State
5. Tools of mass persuasion
6. Language of division or unity?
7. The intellectuals’ identity crisis
8. When Egyptians revolt
Conclusion
References

About the Author

Noha Mellor is Professor of Media at Bedfordshire University. She is the author of The Making of Arab News (2005), Modern Arab Journalism (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), Arab Journalists in Transnational Media (2011) and Arab Media (2011).

Reviews

This text is alone in its class, given its rich analysis of multiple facets of identity in Egypt. With a primary focus on intellectuals and revolutionary tendencies in Egyptian culture, Mellor explores the cognitive and cultural underpinnings of the recent uprisings. Her book is mandatory reading for any scholar, activist or policy maker who wonders why the heroic events of Tahrir Square did not produce more freedom, dignity and democracy. Instead Mellor illustrates the emergence of new forms of patriotism and "Egyptian-ness" as citizens wait for the Egyptian Dream to materialise.

- Deborah Wheeler, United States Naval Academy

This text is alone in its class, given its rich analysis of multiple facets of identity in Egypt. With a primary focus on intellectuals and revolutionary tendencies in Egyptian culture, Mellor explores the cognitive and cultural underpinnings of the recent uprisings. Her book is mandatory reading for any scholar, activist or policy maker who wonders why the heroic events of Tahrir Square did not produce more freedom, dignity and democracy. Instead Mellor illustrates the emergence of new forms of patriotism and "Egyptian-ness" as citizens wait for the Egyptian Dream to materialise.

- Deborah Wheeler, United States Naval Academy

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