EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 10 Feb 2016 | 16:00–17:30

Seeking an Illusion? The Quest of the Egyptian New Trade Union Movement for a New Social Contract in the Aftermath of 2011

Nadine Abdalla (Cairo / EUME Fellow 2015/2016), Chair: Stephan Roll (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

The Egyptian labor movement has played a decisive role during the 2011 uprising in bringing down the authoritarian regime of Mubarak. However, with a view to Egypt’s post-revolutionary trajectory and while observing a persistent level of labor protests, the weakness of organized labor as well as its failure to influence the country’s overall political transformation remains obvious. Indeed, the new trade union movement which mostly emerged in the aftermath of 2011 appeared as unable to influence the political transformation in a way that reflects its own interests. Here comes our question: why was it unable, after the 2011 uprising, to either formulate a new social contract that would reframe its relation vis à vis the State or influence the political transformation in a way that achieves its socio-political interests? Hence, in this talk, we will analyze the reasons which explain this shift of the Egyptian labor movement from an important driver during the destabilization of authoritarian rule to a weak, fragmented and politically marginalized actor during the political transformation period. 

Nadine Abdalla is a Cairo-based political scientist. She obtained her PhD in Political Science from Sciences-Po Grenoble (France) with the highest French grade “Très Honorable avec Felicitations du Jury” and her MA in International Relations from Sciences-Po Paris. Her PhD dissertation focused on social mobilizations in Egypt and the challenge they have presented to the political regime prior to the 25th of January 2011 uprising. She has participated in a number of international conferences and has worked with several Egyptian and European think tanks and research centers such as the Arab Forum for Alternative Studies (AFA) and Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), both in Cairo, the German Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin and the Center for Studies and Research about the Arab World and the Mediterranean (CERMAM) in Geneva. Her research interests include social movements, labor and youth movements, social and political change in Egypt. Her policy papers and academic articles on youth/labor movements in particular and on the Egyptian transformation in general were published by many European think tanks and research centers such as The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) in Barcelona, the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) in Paris, The Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington, the SWP in Berlin, as well as Egyptian research centers such as the AFA and the ACPSS in Cairo. Abdalla also writes a weekly column for the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm and has several articles published in other newspapers. 

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