Exploring Individual Motivation for Social Change: Mobilization of the Muslim brotherhood’s youth in prerevolutionary Egypt
Title: Exploring Individual Motivation for Social Change: Mobilization of the Muslim brotherhood’s youth in prerevolutionary Egypt
Author: POLJAREVIC, Emin
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
Islamist activism is on the rise across the Middle East and North Africa. In the light of the post-revolutionary elections in Egypt and Tunisia, Islamist parties are sweeping the polls supported by the overwhelming majority of voters. This dissertation investigates the dynamic of this support for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The explanation of individual activists’ motivation behind this form of middle-class activism has been investigated by exploring individual beliefs, emotions and identities. Activists’ motivational explanations and representation do not develop in a vacuum, outside of a specific context. Explaining the configuration of collective action therefore requires an analysis of a pattern of social characteristics using a spectrum of social movement theories. The long-term contentious relationship between the various Egyptian authoritarian regimes and the Muslim Brotherhood produced an Islamist resistance culture with a particular set of incitements for would be activists. Middle-class activists have primarily been motivated by the Brotherhood’s ability to educate its followers through a multi-stage membership process. During this process youth activists have acquired a strengthened sense of individual purpose. They also possess organizational skills and have successfully ascended the social ladder, leading to a feeling of moral superiority and a degree of personal autonomy even within an authoritarian sociopolitical context. The social movement organization serves as a facilitator of structured dissent and its success depends ultimately on its ability to recognize the basic needs of a frustrated population. Sympathizers of a particular social movement organization in turn seek realistic forms of dissent which correspond to their system of values and practices.
Defence date: 27 July 2012; Examining Board: Professor Donatella della Porta, European University institute (Supervisor); Professor László Bruszt, European University institute; Professor Abby Peterson, University of Gothenburg; Professor Jeroen Gunning, University of Durham.
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