Youth and internet in Egyptian party politics : balancing authoritarianism with agency in a condition of negative peace
The thesis focuses on the role of youth members in political opposition parties in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The parties, as well as the state, are authoritarian in structure. The thesis discusses possibilities for youth participation in the upper-levels of political parties, and their subjective opinions of being included or excluded in internal debates and decision-making processes. In particular, the thesis discusses the parties’ use of internet and whether the internet arena is a space in which young people can contribute in the development and working of the parties. The analysis is based on data from first-hand information obtained through interviews with members of several Egyptian parties. The discussion is situated within academic debates on the nature of agency within authoritarian party and state structures. The conclusion suggests that youth members in Egyptian opposition parties may influence the working of the parties. However, due to the domination of structural phenomena, such as authoritarian structures, patron-client relations and a patriarchal system, youth’s presence does not affect the parties in a substantial manner. Youth possess agency but do not produce organizational change, because the structural phenomena are used to control people and social entities. It is further concluded that the internet is an arena in which mainly youth members participate. The internet gives youth a larger room for involvement, but does not contribute at a general party level. This situation is not a result of structural phenomena, but is caused by the age gap between leadership and active youth members. The analysis suggests that Egypt experiences a situation of negative peace.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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