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Nadim Mirshak

Nadim Mirshak is Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Manchester. His research focuses on political sociology, sociology of education and critical pedagogy, social movements, state-society relations under authoritarian contexts, and Gramscian readings of the Middle East.

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Posts by Nadim Mirshak:

  • Authoritarianism, education and the limits of political socialisation in Egypt

    Posted at IGS Archive: 29 Jan 2020
    Originally published in Power and Education | 2019
  • President al-Sisi has declared 2019 to be the ‘Year of Education’ whereby a National Project is to be launched to reform the education system. These proposed reforms are crucial, yet the politics driving them and their implications for al-Sisi’s regime remains unclear. Discussions surrounding how education is political and can help protect authoritarian regimes have largely been understated in the existing literature. This paper’s objective is to encourage a critical outlook through utilising a Gramscian approach that considers education to be a politically contested domain. This approach views education as a hegemonic apparatus capable of developing consent through politically socialising the populace into accepting certain knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours conducive to the regimes in power. By analysing the education system under Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak, I illustrate the extent to which education has been politicised through its attempts to serve and legitimise their regimes and objectives; and outline the challenges that hindered their abilities to protect their hegemony and assume complete control over education. Questioning the political, economic, and socio-cultural basis on which the Egyptian education system is premised can enable us to avoid reproducing its existing problems, and importantly, reconsider the relationship between politics and education under al-Sisi’s Egypt.

  • Education as Resistance: Egyptian Civil Society and Rethinking Political Education Under Authoritarian Contexts

    Posted at IGS Archive: 29 Jan 2020
    Originally published in Critical Sociology | 2019
  • This paper explores political education in Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in post-uprisings Egypt. By employing the work of Peter Mayo and Adam Morton, I develop a Gramscian framework that argues for the need to rethink political education where it can take direct and indirect forms. Direct political education explicitly teaches about politics and rights, and is more likely to be repressed by the Egyptian state. Whereas indirect political education is more covert taking the forms of games and simulations which can appear, in hindsight, to be apolitical but could have numerous contradictory political implications. Through analysing the different forms of political education provided in Egyptian civil society, I seek to understand how CSOs are able to adapt their educational methods to function, survive and educate under authoritarian contexts. This way, the paper offers an insight into the interplay between authoritarianism and resistance through the medium of education.

  • Rethinking resistance under authoritarianism: civil society and non-contentious forms of contestation in post-uprisings Egypt

    Posted at IGS Archive: 29 Jan 2020
    Originally published in Social Movement Studies | 2019
  • In 2018 President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a second presidential term in a constrained political environment exacerbated by his control over the media, prosecution of journalists and activists, and his crackdown on civil society. As a result of such resilient authoritarianism, the optimism that once defined the Egyptian uprisings has turned into cynicism. This paper contributes to the literature surrounding civil society and resistance in authoritarian contexts by offering an examination of the interplay between authoritarian tendencies and their resistance in post-uprisings Egypt. I argue that we should view al-Sisi’s regime as representing an authoritarian system that is not absolute, despite its soft and hard repressive methods, but one that still offers limited space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to function. This limited space importantly comprises covert resistance methods which can offer Egyptian CSOs opportunities to resist the state’s legal and extra-legal restrictions. The resistance methods considered in this paper need to be understood in Gramscian terms as they encompass the limited means available by which CSOs can negotiate the terrain of hegemonic contestation under the existing authoritarian context. Given al-Sisi’s re-election and the sustained crackdown on Egyptian civil society, the need to analyse such forms of resistance is pertinent.