Autonomy and Symbolic Capital in an Academic Social Movement: The March 9 Group in Egypt


Qualities that can make activism possible under an authoritarian regime can become disadvantages when restrictions on the political field are eased. Under the Mubarak regime in Egypt, the March 9 Group for University Autonomy, a small group of academics, campaigned against the interference of the state security apparatus and the ruling party in academic affairs and campus life. This article suggests that the group’s survival in that context, and its ability to organize successful campaigns within certain limits, depended on the involvement of highly accomplished academics, some of whom are well-known outside academia, on its practice of a particular type of participatory democracy, and on its focus on institutional autonomy from the state. All these assets became liabilities following the revolutionary uprising of January 2011, and the group has to a large extent demobilized as a result.

European Journal of Turkish Studies
Benjamin Geer
Benjamin Geer
Développeur de logiciels