Mobilization and its Interpretation in the Context of Authoritarian Contraction: The Evolution of Islamists' Collective Action Frames, Protester Identities, and Repertoires in the Interaction with the Egyptian Regime
Starting from the puzzle of why the crackdown against Islamist protesters in the summer of 2013, and the ensuing authoritarian comeback in Egypt failed to produce a massive backlash in terms of oppositional protest across ideological and social cleavages, this project examines the issue of mobilization in an authoritarian setting. It rests on the premise that processes of social mobilization cannot be grasped by general laws applicable over space and time, but are instead contingent on situational mechanisms that operate on a micro-level. I hold that contested frames, i.e. competing narratives about historical events and the way dissent is portrayed by regime agents and activists, are of particular importance for understanding whether protest movements succeed or fail at generating public support.
Therefore, focusing on the case of Egypt, I study how protests were (and are still) interpreted in public discourse and how these interpretations align with master frames prevalent in Egyptian society. Beyond that, I seek to investigate the question of how protesters’ identities and their ways of expressing dissent are transformed in the interaction with the regime, its repressive agents, and with the wider public. Special attention goes to rhetorical structures employed to define purpose and content of protests, and to the invocation of theological or moral references.
By closely tracing the Egyptian protest dynamics with the proposed analytical focus, I hope to shed light on the questions of how protesters’ identities and frames evolve alongside tactics, and why such evolutionary processes succeed or fail.
Erstgutachterin: Prof. Dr. Cilja Harders