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Why Occupy a Square?People, Protests and Movements   in the Egyptian Revolution$
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Jeroen Gunning and Ilan Zvi Baron

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394982.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Why Occupy a Square?

Jeroen Gunning

Ilan Zvi Baron

Oxford University Press

Tens of thousands of Egyptians, most with no prior experience of activism, took to the streets in 2011, joining hardened activists, and called for an end to police abuse, a higher minimum wage and political reform. How are we to make sense of these events? What conceptual frameworks can we use? Can we explain their timing, their focus, and who participated? Why did they attract so many who had hitherto been too afraid of police violence? How did people overcome their fear in the face of vicious violence, detention and death? How were they able to outmaneuver the police? Was this really a “leaderless revolution”? What role did Facebook, Twitter and the internet play? How did the protests affect the way that public space was perceived? This book addresses these questions based on a critical interpretation of social movement theory, first-hand interviews and a broader analysis of political and economic changes.

Keywords:   Egypt, 25 January Revolution, Arab Spring, revolt, revolution, protest, mobilisation, protest networks, social movement theory, spatial politics

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