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Securitizing the Muslim Brotherhood: state violence and authoritarianism in Egypt after the Arab Spring

Pratt, N. and Rezk, D. (2019) Securitizing the Muslim Brotherhood: state violence and authoritarianism in Egypt after the Arab Spring. Security Dialogue, 50 (3). pp. 239-256. ISSN 1460-3640

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0967010619830043


Unprecedented levels of state violence against the Muslim Brotherhood, and the widespread acceptance of this violence by Egyptians following the July 2013 military coup, have been under-examined by scholars of both critical security studies and Middle East politics, reflecting implicit assumptions that state violence is unexceptional beyond Europe. This article explores how the deployment of such levels of violence was enabled by a securitization process in which the Egyptian military successfully appropriated popular opposition to Muslim Brotherhood rule, constructing the group as an existential threat to Egypt and justifying special measures against it. The article builds on existing critiques of the Eurocentrism of securitization theory, alongside the writings of Antonio Gramsci, to further refine its application to non-democratic contexts. In addition to revealing the exceptionalism of state violence against the Muslim Brotherhood and highlighting the important role of nominally non-state actors in constructing the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to Egypt, the article also signals the role of securitization in re-establishing authoritarian rule in the wake of the 2011 uprising. Thus, we argue that securitization not only constitutes a break from ‘normal politics’ but may also be integral to the reconstitution of ‘normal politics’ following a period of transition.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:82778


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