Egypt was at the center of a wave of uprisings and revolutions that swept the region between 2011 and 2013, the common denominator of which was demands for a radical democratic alternative to authoritarian regimes variously formulated around social justice and political rights. While the Middle East was a major theater of these events, with Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen sharing the headlines, the processes that informed these uprisings were also deeply global. The year 2011 was a revolutionary year, maybe the last in history, when actors differently positioned in the neoliberal social landscape mobilized in different ways, from the Occupy Movement to the London riots. The demise, or better, defeat, of these movements has reverberated profoundly around the globe, highlighting the postdemocratic nature of governance in contemporary states. One of the effects of the rise of new authoritarianism across Europe and the United States is a palpable transformation in the asymmetry between outside observer and the local observed. Researchers now face a reshaping, in some ways a leveling, of differences between “us” and “them” and the distinct temporality used to underpin this asymmetry. Nothing could illustrate this better than the fact that as I write, Egypt's president ʿAbd al-Fattah al-Sisi is enjoying a warm welcome in the White House. The narrative is no longer framed through the worn-out trope of an Arab leader aspiring to modernize his country through pledging allegiance to the leader of the Free World in exchange for aid and armaments; now the man in the White House implicitly pledges to learn from the Arab dictator. Egypt is the pioneer; the United States is the relative latecomer to the Age of New Authoritarianism.
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