The Road To Revolution and Egyptian Youth: Findings From The Value Surveys

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:50 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Helen RIZZO , Sociology,Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Abdel-Hamid ABDEL-LATIF , EMAC Research and Training Center, Egypt
Asmaa EL-MOGHAZY , EMAC Research and Training Center, Egypt
The Arab Spring that began in late 2010 captivated the world’s attention, particularly in Egypt with the uprising that began on January 25, 2011 in Tahrir Square and ended Hosni Mubarak’s reign as president 18 days later.   Before December 2010, protesting against repression and injustice was risky and often seen as futile. El-Ghobashy (2011) argued that it was when the main protest sectors of the first decade of the 2000s finally came together, united in their demand for “bread, freedom, social justice!”, that Mubarak was forced to resign.  Both the media and scholars alike have noted that youth were some of the key players in the uprisings in Egypt and across the Arab world.  Because of this recognition, Moaddel and de Jong (forthcoming) argue that it is necessary for scholars to move beyond anecdotal evidence and assumptions based on the young age structure of Arab countries to empirical research that documents the role of youth in the Arab spring.  This includes shifting sociopolitical and cultural values over the past decade that led to the desire to mobilize for change.  In Egypt, while the role of youth as key organizers of the January 25th uprising has been clearly documented, their changing values over the decade preceding the uprisings have not. This paper will examine how sociopolitical and cultural values that reflect the three demands of the January 25th uprising—bread, freedom and social justice—changed among Egyptians in the decade preceding 2011 and whether Egyptian youth exhibited attitudes that were more supportive of these goals than the rest of the population.  We will use data from nationally representative value surveys conducted in Egypt in 2001, 2005 and 2008 to address our research questions.