Trauma as counter-revolutionary colonisation: narratives from (post)revolutionary Egypt

Matthies-Boon, V. and Head, N. (2018) Trauma as counter-revolutionary colonisation: narratives from (post)revolutionary Egypt. Journal of International Political Theory, 14(3), pp. 258-279. (doi:10.1177/1755088217748970)

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We argue that multiple levels of trauma were present in Egypt before, during and after the 2011 revolution. Individual, social and political trauma constitute a triangle of traumatisation which was strategically employed by the Egyptian counter-revolutionary forces – primarily the army and the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood – to maintain their political and economic power over and above the social, economic and political interests of others. Through the destruction of physical bodies, the fragmentation and polarisation of social relations and the violent closure of the newly emerged political public sphere, these actors actively repressed the potential for creative and revolutionary transformation. To better understand this multi-layered notion of trauma, we turn to Habermas’ ‘colonisation of the lifeworld’ thesis which offers a critical lens through which to examine the wider political and economic structures and context in which trauma occurred as well as its effects on the personal, social and political realms. In doing so, we develop a novel conception of trauma that acknowledges individual, social and political dimensions. We apply this conceptual framing to empirical narratives of trauma in Egypt’s pre- and post-revolutionary phases, thus both developing a non-Western application of Habermas’ framework and revealing ethnographic accounts of the revolution by activists in Cairo.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Head, Dr Naomi
Authors: Matthies-Boon, V., and Head, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of International Political Theory
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1755-1722
Published Online:21 December 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of International Political Theory 14: 258-279
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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