Abstract and Keywords
This chapter focuses on the rural preludes to the Egyptian uprising in 2011 and examines two instances of conflict that correspond to two different phases of rural protest. The first instance concerns farmers’ responses to the 1992 tenancy law, fully implemented in 1997. The law deprived almost one million families of their main source of work and food security. Despite the devastating impact on their livelihoods, tenants mostly resorted either to coping with the new conditions or to age-old sporadic protest activities that were, ultimately, not effective. The second instance of protest activity concerns spectacular forms of rural protest that intensified during the latter half of the decade preceding the Egyptian uprising. Here we see a qualitative shift in the types and scope of rural resistance in an especially illuminating moment that sheds light on the subsequent events. The chapter concludes that a significant shift in types of resistance may have to do with social and spatial factors rather than traditional concerns over farming and agricultural land.
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