Settling After the Revolts? Egypt’s Political Settlements and Violent Transition
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The uprisings in the Arab region generated much hope among significant proportions of the population that a rupture with the status quo would herald a new era marked by bread, freedom and social justice/human dignity, the catchphrase of many of the revolts. However, the new political settlements in many instances neither created the spaces for more inclusive politics, nor were they responsive to the masses’ aspirations. This paper presents the case study of Egypt, a country that between January 2011 and July 2013 witnessed two regime overthrows following mass uprisings of a scale unprecedented in the region. While the country has not fallen into a state of civil war such as Syria, it has nevertheless been experiencing rising levels of violence since the revolution of January 2011. This paper discusses the nature of the political order in relation to violence through two nexuses: first, the extent to which the surge in violence, in particular political violence, can be attributed to the nature of the political settlements forged, and second, the extent to which a bottom-up approach informs our understanding of the dynamics and outcomes of political settlements.