In 2018 President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a second presidential term in a constrained political environment exacerbated by his control over the media, prosecution of journalists and activists, and his crackdown on civil society. As a result of such resilient authoritarianism, the optimism that once defined the Egyptian uprisings has turned into cynicism. This article contributes to the literature surrounding civil society and resistance in authoritarian contexts by offering an examination of the interplay between authoritarian tendencies and their resistance in post-uprisings Egypt. I argue that we should view al-Sisi’s regime as representing an authoritarian system that is not absolute, despite its soft and hard repressive methods, but one that still offers limited space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to function. This limited space importantly comprises covert resistance methods which can offer Egyptian CSOs opportunities to resist the state’s legal and extra-legal restrictions. The resistance methods considered in this article need to be understood in Gramscian terms as they encompass the limited means available by which CSOs can negotiate the terrain of hegemonic contestation under the existing authoritarian context. Given al-Sisi’s re-election and the sustained crackdown on Egyptian civil society, the need to analyse such forms of resistance is pertinent.
Mirshak, N. (2019). Rethinking resistance under authoritarianism: civil society and non-contentious forms of contestation in post-uprisings Egypt. Social Movement Studies, 18(6), 702–719. https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2019.1627865