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The Student Movement in Egypt. A Microcosm of Contentious Politics


The paper is concerned with understanding endogenous and exogenous student activism in authoritarian regimes, by focusing on the case study of Egypt from the 1960s until today. The first part of the paper is dedicated to a definition of “student movements” and “youth activism” in their various forms. The second presents a historical analysis of student movements in the Arab world in general and in Egypt in particular. The research benefitted from qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with a number of student activists from various political parties and student unions in public and private universities in Egypt. Qualitative analysis sheds light on the various grievances of student movement activists, and the interplay between endogenous and exogenous political participation by student movements. More in general, the paper shows that student movements in authoritarian regimes are a reflection of the dynamics of contention within these countries.

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