Young people were at the forefront of the millions-strong 2011 uprising against the corrupt and authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Eight years since this uprising, many of these young people find themselves besieged, disengaged, and disgruntled amid a resurgence of militarized authoritarianism. This article examines the state of Egypt’s youth and argues that through the dynamics of dissociation, disenchantment, and desecration, these youth are creatively confronting and deflating the state’s propaganda using digital artistic productions such as suggestive caricatures, sarcastic memes, and video pranks. Although such expressions are often seen as lacking political resonance or outcomes, they take on a particular import against the backdrop of a stark and resilient youth boycott of invitations to state-sponsored electoral and political participation. Given that many scholars were blindsided by the rapid and sustained revolutionary mobilizations of 2010 and 2011, it would be wise not to overlook the effects of low-grade humorous online dissent on the long-term development of political culture, and particularly a burgeoning grassroots culture of democracy, in Egypt and other countries affected by the Arab Spring.
Egyptian Youth’s Digital Dissent
Issue Date July 2019
Page Numbers 154-164