Sectarian Conflict in Egypt
Coptic Media, Identity and Representation
Routledge – 2012 – 228 pages
In light of the Egyptian uprising in early 2011, understanding the dynamics that are shaping Egyptian politics and society is more crucial than ever as Egypt seeks to re-define itself after the Mubarak era. One of the most controversial debates concerns the place of religion in Egypt’s political future. This book examines the escalation in religious violence in Egypt since 2005 and the public discourses behind it, revealing some of the complex negotiations that lie behind contestations of citizenship, Muslim-Christian relations and national unity.
Focusing on Egypt’s largest religious minority group, the Coptic Orthodox Christians, this book explores how national, ethnic and religious expressions of identity are interwoven in the narratives and usage of the press and Internet. In doing so it offers insights into some of Egypt’s contemporary social and political challenges, and recognises the ways that media are involved in constructing and reflecting formations of identity politics. The author examines in depth the processes through which identity and belonging are negotiated via media discourses within the wider framework of changing political realities in Egypt. Using a combination of methodological approaches - including comprehensive surveys and content analysis - the research offers a fresh perspective on the politics of identity in Egypt.
Introduction Part 1: Copts, Copticness and the Egyptian Media 1. The Contemporary Coptic Community: Between the State and the Church 2. The Egyptian Press in National Political Life 3. Copts Online: The Impact of the Internet on Coptic Politics Part 2: Copts and National Representation in the Mubarak-Shenouda Era 4. The Coptic Orthodox Church as a Media and Political Actor 5. Discoursing National Belonging: National Unity versus Sectarianism Part 3: Challenging Regimes of Representation 6. Resisting Church Authority through Media: Dissent and Legitimacy 2005-2010 7. Revolution and Political Crisis: Shifting Discourses and Relations of Power 8. Copts, Sectarianism and Citizenship in Post-25 January Egypt. Conclusion
Elizabeth Iskander is Research Fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, and Visiting Fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on Arabic media, conflict prevention, language, power and identity, and politics and religion in the Middle East.