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  • Cited by 19
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2018
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Book description

In this ground-breaking work, Gerasimos Tsourapas examines how migration and political power are inextricably linked, and enhances our understanding of how authoritarian regimes rely on labour emigration across the Middle East and the Global South. Dr Tsourapas identifies how autocracies develop strategies to tie cross-border mobility to their own survival, highlighting domestic political struggles and the shifting regional and international landscape. In Egypt, the ruling elite has long shaped labour emigration policy in accordance with internal and external tactics aimed at regime survival. Dr Tsourapas draws on a wealth of previously-unavailable archival sources in Arabic and English, as well as extensive original interviews with Egyptian elites and policy-makers in order to produce a novel account of authoritarian politics in the Arab world. The book offers a new insight into the evolution and political rationale behind regime strategies towards migration, from Gamal Abdel Nasser's 1952 Revolution to the 2011 Arab Uprisings.


Winner, 2020 Distinguished Book Award - Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies Section of the International Studies Association

Winner, 2020 Distinguished Book Award - Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies Section, International Studies Association


‘Labour immigration policies have been largely researched but not their counterpart emigration policies. In this book, Gerasimos Tsourapas fills this void, theorising and bringing out the political rationale of these policies over three articulations of Egyptian authoritarianism between the 1950s and 2011. Based on impressive primary and secondary sources, the book will be essential material for researchers in migration studies, Egyptian politics and politics of authoritarianism more generally.'

Ibrahim Awad - The American University in Cairo

'This is an important and insightful book that develops an original argument around the politics and the political economy of migration in modern Egypt. Gerasimos Tsourapas unravels with consummate skill the threads that bind the fate of Egyptian governments to the success or otherwise of Egypt's export of human capital over the course of the past sixty years. In a lucid and highly readable account he explores the ways in which this phenomenon has been a key factor in Egypt's regional as well as domestic political predicaments.'

Charles Tripp - School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

'A unique book on how the most sedentary people on earth suddenly discovered exodus, and the world’s oldest nation its citizens abroad. Tsourapas offers a major contribution to both the history of contemporary Egypt and the scientific study of international migration.'

Philippe Fargues - European University Institute, Florence

'A pioneer study theorizing across a spectrum of non-democratic regimes and perceptively tracing the relationships in Egypt (1952–2011) between different policies (de)regulating the emigration of workers and professionals and regime legitimation, the policy priority being political survival.'

Clement M. Henry - University of Texas, Austin

'The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt makes a major contribution to the nascent literature on migration states beyond the Global North. Melding analytical insights from immigration and emigration, as well as diasporas and development, Tsourapas provides a framework for thinking about migration policy as a multidimensional set of strategic decisions. His study offers an invaluable benchmark, especially for comparisons to other authoritarian regimes.'

Audie Klotz - Syracuse University, New York

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