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Social Movement Success in Authoritarian Settings Kifaya and the Arab Spring in Egypt 2004 - 2011

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posted on 2023-08-04, 14:28 authored by Erin C. McRae

What determines the outcome of social movements in authoritarian contexts? I advance an argument that demonstrates that in order to be successful in authoritarian contexts, social movements need to possess prior organizations and networks with weak ties that are capable of transmitting protest tactics. To demonstrate this, I employ a comparative case study whereby I examine two social movements that took place in Egypt between 2004 and 2011. Though both movements sought similar political reforms, only the Arab Spring era movement succeeded in achieving them. I use the comparative failure and success of these two movements to illustrate how these components are necessary for the success of a social movement. I find data for my argument by using news publications of events in both movements, and comparing the role each of these components played in each social movement. The findings contribute to our understanding of the operations and chances for success of social movements in non-western, non-democratic situations.



American University


Degree awarded: M.A. School of International Service. American University


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