Room: 
Edinburgh
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 23rd March 11:00 - 12:30
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Adam Morton (University of Sydney)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Adam Morton (University of Sydney)
  • Dr Cemal Tansel (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Brecht De Smet (Ghent University)
  • Dr Roberto Roccu (KCL)
  • Miss Sara Salem (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University)

Coming in the wake of intense political and academic debate on the nature and development of the Arab Uprisings, Brecht De Smet's new book Gramsci on Tahrir zeroes in on the complex dynamic of Egypt's revolution and counter-revolution. It shows how a Gramscian understanding of the revolutionary process provides a powerful instrument for charting the possibilities for an emancipatory project by the Egyptian subaltern classes.

Central to De Smet’s argument is Gramsci’s take on Caesarism which involves looking at a situation in which the forces in struggle are balanced in a truly catastrophic way, and how the interplay of these forces can only end in mutual destruction. The forces acting in Egypt provide a clear example of a state with the absence of strong hegemonies and capable counter-hegemonies. Through this analysis, we can see how the current situation in Egypt demonstrates how both national histories and global power relations enable, define and displace popular resistance and social transformation.

Gramsci on Tahrir is a major contribution to the existing literature on Egypt and the Arab Uprisings with important implications for radical political theory. This roundtable will discuss the import of the book from across the different perspectives of political economy, historical sociology, post-colonial and Middle East studies.