The Arab Spring - In Egypt

Student thesis: Master thesis

  • Cæcilie Lyndgaard Andersen

The events in Tunisia was an inspiration but especially the killing of Khaled Said by the hand of police officers in Alexandria made the young Egyptians so angry that they had to do something (We Are All Khaled Said 2011). After a few days it was not only young educated people who participated in the protest but people from all social backgrounds. The message was clear; they wanted President Hosni Mubarak to step down and they wanted a more open, safe and not least democratic and fair country.
The Arab counties had a remarkable history of keeping control of their populations and they have been resistance from pressure for change both domestically and internationally for half at century. The fact that the people of Egypt where able to mobilize themselves to this extent, and shake the foundations of their countries, were an impressive feat of strength. It showed that all levels of the society were interested and engaged in a change.
It is interesting what made this people go to the streets. The whole thing started within the social media, and it is far from the whole population who has access to the internet in 2010 only 30 million was internet users (World DataBank 2010) The population of Egypt suddenly went from being this oppressed people to become mass mobilized. How can such inhomogeneous group become mobilized, the way they did?
Egypt became nominal independent in 1922 but was still under dominant control of the British troops who remained. The first Egyptian president was General Muhammad Neguib as a result of the 1952 revolution against the Egyptian King Farouk in 1952. The Egyptian people changed the future of their country and they chose a leader who made sure that global the society knew about Egypt, they also chose a leader that understood how important it was to meet the needs of the people. Could the revolution of 1952 had planted the germ that slowly but steady developed the Egyptian people into mobilizing against Mubarak and his authoritarian leadership?
Problem statement:
Can the 2011 uprising in Egypt be explained by modernization theory?
Analysis strategy: The problem statement is centered on the concept of modernization theory which is the theoretical fundament of the thesis. I understand modernization as a process of development that is used to explain developing countries transitions towards democratization using Samuel P. Huntington’s approach to modernization theory which is presented and applied further on. Huntington has trough empirical data created a framework for understanding and detecting the development the developing countries. short Huntington defines modernization as a multifaceted process which makes changes in all areas of human thought and activity.
Modernization changes patterns of life and is used as indicators to measure the development. These aspects both include the rise of living standards but also the how the mindset and opinions of the people are changed. These indicators make it possible to measure whether Egypt has been going through a process of modernization.
Conclusion: When it comes to demographic change the indicators does not quite agree, there have been an significant increase in the life expectancy but there have not been much of an increase in occupation neither the urbanization seemed increased but as detected in the economic section of the analysis it turns out that people are less poor in urban areas; this might lead to an increase in the urbanization in the longer run. Within the indicators of change in the mindset they are more convincing towards a positive status of the occurrence of modernization in Egypt; there was both an increase in literacy, mass communication and education, this tells that there is a level of intellectually modernization however it is possible that the generation that is affected by this is too young on the burst to old enough to have had anything to do with 2011 uprising. Of the indicators that tells something about the political development in the form of mobilization as stated about all three, literacy, education, increased communications, has increased. Huntington uses instability to explain how it can be detected that a society are on its way to over trough their leader; within this perspectives the rapid growing numbers of children enrolled in primary school supports this thesis.
Publication date28 Jun 2013
ID: 77995433