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Egypt as “Securocratic” State

January 17, 2017

securocratic-stateThere’s a new paper from Maha Abdelrahman of the University of Cambridge entitled “Policing neoliberalism in Egypt: the continuing rise of the ‘securocratic’ state.”

Abdelrahman joins Paul Amar and others in arguing that continuation of the global neoliberal order is tied to demands for security, and that ruling elites must therefore inevitably be tied to the police apparatus in complex ways.



The as-Sisi regime, like the Mubarak regime, is a “securocratic” state, a state that uses the promise of security as a justification for its rule, and for its surveillance and strict control over multiple domains of life.

The most interesting part of this paper is her observation that “security” becomes a portmanteau word into which multiple referents and meanings can be packed.Everything from labor unrest to bloggers and television comedians critical of the regime to militancy in the Sinai to border violence with Libya to incoherent threats of subversion of Egypt by external agents can be lumped together as a security threat.

The paper appears in the January 2017 issue of Third World Quarterly. Here’s the abstract:

This article examines the increasing power of the police, their centrality to the reproduction of the neoliberal global order and their dynamic relationship with various elements of the ruling elite. It focuses on the case of the post-2011 uprising in Egypt to examine how the police institution has taken advantage of the uprising to increase its power and relative autonomy. The article demonstrates the centrality of the police to the Sisi regime’s efforts at reducing political discourse to an inflated and simplistic concept of ‘security’ in an attempt to establish its long-term legitimacy.


Abdelrahman, Maha. 2017. Policing neoliberalism in Egypt: the continuing rise of the ‘securocratic’ state. Third World Quarterly 38(1): 185-202.

Amar, Paul. 2013. The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism. Duke University Press.


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