Dialogue and Politics in Revolutionary Egypt

Dr. Henrik Lindberg Hansen
PhD, The School of African and Oriental Studies, London

The Arab Spring raises questions about the future of Muslim-Christian relation in the region. But to understand how Muslim-Christian relations are managed building different discourses of dialogue in Egyptian society it is necessary to look into the religio-political dynamics of the country. Sociologists and political scientists describe Egyptian society as based on corporatism, clientelism, and other concepts emphasizing informal networks both horizontally among for example families, work communities, or local neighbourhoods – or vertically ideally linking the elite of the country to the less fortunate through chains of dependency and favours. These informal networks are often delineated by religion, making religious leaders part of the negotiation of general societal relations (i.e. politics). The seminar will expound on how these religio-political relations were managed just before the Arab Spring, and then discuss how the Arab Spring influenced them.