Search results

You are looking at 1 - 8 of 8 items for

  • Author: Lucia Ardovini x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after the 2013 coup
Author: Lucia Ardovini

Surviving repression tells the story of the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2013 coup. The movement quickly rose to power following the 2011 Arab uprisings, but its premature removal marked the beginning of the harshest repression of its troubled history. Forced into exile, the Brotherhood and its members are faced with the monumental task of having to rebuild a fragmented organisation. The book looks at this new era in the movement’s history through the perspective of individual members, relying on conversations with current and former members from across the generational and organisational spectrums. It puts emphasis on their experiences, perspectives and emotions to better understand how their responses to repression are affecting the movement as a whole. It is the first book to comprehensively address the Brotherhood’s trajectories after the 2013 coup, and to examine the external and internal challenges it faces while trying to rebuild in exile. Surviving repression offers an invaluable insight into the main strategical, ideological and organisational debates dividing the Brotherhood and reveals that, in order to survive, the movement needs to answer two fundamental challenges. These are: what kind of organisation the Brotherhood wants to be moving forward; and whether or not it is willing to renegotiate the relationship between the movement and its members in order to maximise survival and resilience. Overall, it shows that the main forces driving the Brotherhood’s evolution after 2013 are fundamental questions about organisational identity, its members’ increased agency, and growing calls to reform the movement’s core structures and principles.

Abstract only
Lucia Ardovini

The Introduction reviews the recent history of the Brotherhood, providing the necessary background to understand the significance of the new wave of repression and forced exile that the movement has been facing since 2013. It identifies the post 2013 coup period as a new era in the troubled history of the Brotherhood, arguing that a new analytical approach is needed to fully understand the internal transformations dividing the movement. In order to do so, it engages with the seminal works on social movements, repression and political Islam, arguing that to get a more complete picture of the various forces at play within the Brotherhood after 2013 one needs to shift the analysis to the level of individual members. Doing so allows it to identify the main points of contention that are driving organisational renewal – these being questions around organisational identity, ideology, and the emergence of members’ individual agency.

in Surviving repression
Lucia Ardovini

Chapter 1 outlines the early history of the Brotherhood, from its founding by Hassan al Banna in 1928 to the outbreak of the 2011 Arab Uprisings. It does so to provide a necessary background to the movement’s quick politicisation process that followed Hosni Mubarak’s removal, and to set the bases for the analysis of its political behaviour. It offers an account of the Brotherhood’s participation in the uprisings and examines its implication for the movement’s internal debates, identifying the schisms that emerged over the foundation of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the members’ grievances that were brought back to the surface. The chapter shows that the Brotherhood was already deeply divided before entering the political arena, as would be reflected in the running of the FJP. It then examines the FJP’s time in government, highlighting the contradictory political choices that fuelled popular discontent against the Brotherhood’s rule and revealed the lack of a concrete political project. It concludes by identifying four main factors that contributed to Morsi’s untimely demise. These are: the lack of a coherent vision of an ‘Islamist project’; the fact that the Brotherhood severely miscalculated the amount of support and legitimacy it actually had; its refusal to adapt to the changing circumstances, which then accelerated internal discontent; and the failure to successfully address the permanence of the deep state across state institutions.

in Surviving repression
Abstract only
Lucia Ardovini

Chapter 2 examines the Brotherhood’s fall from power, reporting first-hand accounts of the quick turn of events that unfolded in July 2013. It relies on members’ personal experiences to tell the story of the brutality that followed Morsi’s removal and begins by outlining the Brotherhood’s descent into deeply unchartered territory. The chapter traces the movement’s scattering abroad and outlines the unprecedented challenges that come with the dimension of forced exile, showing how the disintegration of established lines of command led to emergence of individual responses to repression. It takes a close look at the relationship between the Brotherhood and its members, focusing on the resurfacing of old grievances and the emergence of new ones. The chapter shows how the traumatic experience of renewed repression and exile accentuated the pre-existing divisions between the movement and its members, further aggravated by the lack of a cohesive response to repression. It concludes by showing how the challenges posed by reuniting in exile allowed members the unprecedented opportunity to reconsider their terms of belonging to the movement, outlining how their individual experiences of repression began to dismantle the collective identity that the Brotherhood historically relied on.

in Surviving repression
Lucia Ardovini

Chapter 3 begins by outlining the Brotherhood members’ emerging processes of self-reflection to show how, in the post-2013 context, the battle between members’ individual agency and the Brotherhood’s organizational structure has taken the centre stage. It looks at the reconfiguration of the movement’s leadership ranks in the aftermath of the coup, showing that open competition over leadership and the emergence of warring Guidance Offices reveal yet another layer of internal fragmentation. The chapter traces the sources and development of various dynamics of dissent, to outline the different ways in which individual members experience repression and forced displacement. These experiences directly shape their relationship with the movement and inform their strategies to counter repression, which often clash with the Brotherhood’s official narrative. It therefore outlines the disintegration of the tanzim and identifies the processes that guide the challenging of the movement’s collective identity in favour of agency and individualism. In doing so, it shows that the main grievances guiding these processes have their roots in the pre-revolutionary period and were therefore brought back to the fore by the perceived failure of the political experience. The chapter concludes by arguing that in the dimension of forced exile the biggest challenges the movement has to face are those posed by its own members, and by the growing calls for internal reforms.

in Surviving repression
Lucia Ardovini

Chapter 4 expands on the internal debates dividing the movement to focus on the ongoing polarisation around different responses to repression and on competing strategies to move past the current crisis. It shows that a significant novelty of the post-2013 context is represented by the fact that dissenting members, along with those who do not align with the Brotherhood’s official narrative, remain an active part of the movement. These behaviours were punished with expulsion prior to 2011, but the necessity to maintain unity and safety in numbers after the coup mean that the Brotherhood is characterised by an unprecedented diversity of voices and opinions. The chapter traces the development of two main trends to fight against repression: stagnation and adaptation strategies. It shows that the Historical Leadership takes a generally passive approach, treating the current crisis as yet another time of hardship and calling for unity in the face of oppression. This faction remains faithful to the Brotherhood’s historical strategies and refuses to answer the call for internal reforms that would allow the movement to better adapt to exile. On the contrary, the adaptation trend encompasses a wide diversity of voices and competing strategies that argue for a more proactive response to the current crisis. These are informed by the members’ increased agency and by the development of independent thinking against the Brotherhood’s official stance. By providing first-hand accounts of these strategies, the chapter outlines what the main future directions for the movement might be.

in Surviving repression
Abstract only
Lucia Ardovini

Chapter 5 looks at the main demands that members are advancing in the post-2013 era and outlines the current splits that are dividing the Brotherhood. It shows that, while there is a collective commitment to the movement’s survival, there is a growing disconnect between those who aspire to just that and those who instead want the movement to thrive despite the current circumstances. It traces ongoing debates over what kind of organisation the Brotherhood should be, moving forward, showing that questions regarding the balance of political and preaching activities have once again taken centre stage. It also offers an initial assessment of the current factions that have formed within the movement in exile. Overall, while the Historical Leadership remains in control of the movement, the vocal demands for new inclusive and democratic values are definitely growing among members in exile. While it is too early to speculate on whether or not real ideological and structural changes will be achieved, some degree of internal change is already underway.

in Surviving repression
Abstract only
Lucia Ardovini

The Conclusion presents a summary of the main points covered in the book, putting the emphasis on the defining characteristics of the post-2013 context. These are the fact that the Brotherhood has grown increasingly fragmented along strategic, ideological and organisational lines. The movement faces several challenges while trying to rebuild in exile, yet, some of the main questions that it needs to address are what kind of organisation it wants to be moving forward, and whether or not its leaders are willing to renegotiate the relationship between the movement and its members in order to maximise survival and resilience.

in Surviving repression