Egypt's Civic Revolution Turns ‘Democracy Promotion’ on Its Head

Sheila Carapico

in Arab Spring in Egypt

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165368
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781617971365 | DOI:
Egypt's Civic Revolution Turns ‘Democracy Promotion’ on Its Head

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This chapter explicitly challenges rumors that international democracy brokers fomented Egypt's mass uprising with their civil society promotion projects. It does so by telling two different stories. First it examines at how donor agencies defined civil society and the sorts of projects they funded before the uprisings, noting emphases on formal, professionally-staffed NGOs pursuing incremental reform according to strategic plans. Then, shifting voice, the chapter draws on first-hand observation to contrast this vertical managerial model with the relatively improvisational street-level popular mobilization in Cairo during eighteen historic days in early 2011. The juxtaposition supports the conclusion that horizontally organized relatively spontaneous mass demonstrations were not encouraged by Western transitologists.

Keywords: NGOs; democracy brokers; civil society promotion; popular mobilization

Chapter.  8838 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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