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Nadim Mirshak

Title of thesis

Education as resistance? Political education, civil Society and the prospects of democratization in Egypt


Planned submission date

September 2016

Project overview

After the Egyptian uprisings in 2011, the role of education and in specific political education for Egypt’s democratic transition has never been as vital. This project is interested in shedding light on the struggle that has been ensuing between the Egyptian state and civil society in maintaining control over the existing educational system and in providing alternatives to it.

Through using a Gramscian framework, I aim to explore how certain Egyptian civil society organizations have been trying to offer critical and political educational initiatives, the challenges they have been facing both internally and externally, as well as the strategies they have been adopting to function under an authoritarian regime, and hence further understand these organization's abilities to instigate social change.

With the Egyptian state being increasingly incapable of providing people with their basic needs (specifically education), a space of resistance and counter-hegemony could be developed within civil society to “fill in the gaps” left by the state, however, whether this space is being effectively used, or being struggled for, is something that my project aims to understand in more detail in an effort to understand why the Egyptian revolution has temporarily stalled.

Research interests

Marxist theories of education, sociology of education, critical political economy, Middle Eastern authoritarianism, peripheral capitalism in the Middle East, Critical Social Theory (specifically Antonio Gramsci), and critical pedagogy.

Conferences and invited presentations

  • “The Educational roots to the political crisis in Egypt” – Presented at the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES)'s symposium
  • Revolutions/revo-coup-lutions? A reassessment of the Arab Spring", University of Manchester (19th September 2013)
  • “Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony in Authoritarian and Totalitarian regimes in the Arab World” – Presented at the OpenSpace seminar, University of Manchester (20th of November 2013).
  • “The Legacy of the Arab Spring in Egypt: ‘Reasons to be Fearful are Three’” – Presented at the “Spring Conference: a conference on the future of the Left”, Manchester (17th of May 2014). 
  • “Education as Resistance? Political Education, Civil Society and the Prospects of Democratization in Egypt” – Presented at “Political Horizons”, University of Manchester (23rd of May 2014)
  • A panel proposal was accepted by the Arab Council for Social Sciences’ conference on “Questioning Social Inequality and Difference in the Arab Region”. This proposed panel will include a paper titled: “Education as Resistance to Inequality: The Importance of Understanding the Current Struggle for Educational Power between the Egyptian State and Civil Society” to be presented in Beirut (13-15th of March 2015).

Teaching experience

  • Teaching Assistant – Work, Economy and Society (Sociology) (2013-2015)
  • Teaching Assistant – Modernity to Postmodernity II (Sociology) (2015)
  • Teaching Assistant – Modernity to Postmodernity I (Sociology) (2014)

Contact details