Special issue fo Egypte Monde Arabe : The Elections of the Revolution : From the Street to the Ballot Box. Deadline 15 July 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Giedre Sabaseviciute (CEDEJ)
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Since the January 25 Revolution, Egyptians have been offered several opportunities to make their voices heard through the ballot box. The elections held in 2011 and 2012 have been occasions for the different political currents not only to come into office or to influence politics, but also to test their worth. Due to the post-revolutionary context, this issue of Egypt Arab World will be both in continuity with previous studies of Egyptian elections, as well as reflect a rupture in the study of the subject. While previous works provided the theoretical tools needed to understand the election process in Egypt, especially regarding the popular election of the Assembly, the radically different circumstances under which the 2011 and 2012 elections were held marks a break with the past.
The joint publication on the 1995 legislative elections, edited by Sandrine Gamblin, showed that candidates, in order to be elected, had to have both a local constituency, as well as links to the regime [Gamblin, 1997]. On the one hand, candidates had to mobilize their "'asabiyat" and on the other, provide services to the community. In their study of the 2000 legislative elections, Sarah Ben Néfissa and 'Alâ al Dîn Arafat [2005] continued in this same vein. They showed that, in 2000, the practice of a certain clientelism did not entirely preclude the politicization of the vote (notably in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood [Vannetzel, 2008]). Nor did this tendency exclude candidates considered "independent with regards to the principle of the National Democratic Party," to the detriment of the latter. Other studies have focused on forms of political participation in shanty towns and lower-class neighborhoods [Singerman, 1997 ; Haenni, 2005]. Finally, the issue of Egyptian Arab World on the 2005 elections [EMA 7, 2011] widened the field of research to include actors in the electoral process previously been ignored, namely the media and the judiciary.

While the January 25 revolution did not make 'asabiyat, nor the dominant view of the deputy as service provider, disappear entirely, it nonetheless profoundly modified the juridico-political context in which the elections were held. The proliferation of new political parties – a result of the combination of a desire to participate born of the 2011 demonstrations and the reform of the law regulating political parties (March 28, 2011) – the creation of new electoral laws, the quasi-disappearance of the police, the general feeling that fraud and electoral violence would no longer go unpunished, and the increase in participation together form a rupture with elections held under the former regime.

In this issue, we will privilege contributions based on case studies (of an electoral district, a political party, a candidate, a type of actor, etc.) that include empirical data (qualitative and/or quantitative). In addition to studies focusing on the legislative elections (People's Assembly and/or the Shura Council), we also welcome contributions regarding the 2012 presidential elections and on the referendum held in March 2011. It seems to us that a comparison between these three different types of poll is indispensable to better understand voting habits in Egypt.

This issue will prioritize three axes of analysis:

The examination of the role of notables in the legislative elections, especially with regards to political parties. What is the sociological make-up of the candidates and those elected? How does this differ from previous elections of the same kind? How did the political parties formulate their programs, select their candidates, and mobilize their electors? What kinds of relationships did the candidates and parties form with different organized groups (such as the asabiyat, but also religious networks, associations, unions, etc.)?
These last two questions in particular may be the subject of contributions regarding the 2012 presidential elections.
What kinds of strategies were used to mobilize electors in the different polls (media, public services, campaign materials, argumentation, religious networks)?

Finally, this issue will emphasize the actors and the processes. While electors, candidates, and parties play important roles, we are also interested in the role of the media and all other actors whose responsibility it is to make sure that elections run smoothly: judges, assessors, observers, the security apparatus, etc. Thus, contributions may range from an ethnography of polling stations to the analysis of the legal rules that regulate the electoral process.
Paper abstracts (one page max.) should be sent to elham@cedej-eg.org and clement@steuer.fr by 15 July 2011. We will accept contributions in English, French or Arabic.