Studies of youth in Arab societies have tended to posit and explore their social exclusion, marginalization and even de-politicization. Events sparked by the January 25 uprising in Egypt have reconstructed youth in a contradictory light, hailing them as new symbols of the nation. Careful consideration of current thinking in the anthropology of kinship and the nation, however, cautions the audience of the revolution to think twice. Taking for granted the ‘blurred boundaries’ between kinship and the nation, this paper suggests that the transformation from ‘totalizing and patricentric rule’ in Egypt evokes the symbolism of kinship and its wider metaphorical uses, manipulations and transformations. It uses kinship to re-examine the role of youth in the Egypt revolution, on the one hand, and the end of Hosni Mubarak's totalizing and patricentric regime, on the other. Firstly, it shows how a discursive concern with youth's place in the revolution is simultaneously and more strongly a concern with kinship. It then sheds light on the kinship idiom that has defined the Egyptian nation since its birth to its ‘demubarakization’. Finally, it shows how kinship and nation are mutually susceptible to manipulations and transformations in the aftermath of the revolution. The paper concludes by noting the relevance of kinship to contemporary political events.
Research Article| January 01 2013
Youth and the revolution in Egypt: what kinship tells us
Contemporary Arab Affairs (2013) 6 (1): 1–16.
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Zina Sawaf; Youth and the revolution in Egypt: what kinship tells us. Contemporary Arab Affairs 1 January 2013; 6 (1): 1–16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2013.746198
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