'When will we be ready for democracy?': The mobilisation of deviance as counterrevolutionary technology in Egypt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a 2011 interview, then-Vice President Omar Suleiman declared that Egyptians are not ready for democracy, in response to mass anti-regime protests around Egypt. More peculiarly, protesters have been accused of trying to implement foreign (western) agendas, being perverts and homosexuals, and disrupting domestic cohesion. Discourses that attach deviance—ascribed as a western attribute—to open resistance have since prevailed. This article argues that the historical imagination of the evils of westernisation, delegitimises the revolution and its revolutionaries, while at the same time reproduces the figure of the monolithic normative (Honourable) Egyptian citizen, as docile and counterrevolutionary. In employing figuration as a method, I examine the emergence of the figure of the Egyptian Male Homosexual through the 2001 Queen Boat incident and argue that the mobilisation of figures of deviance acts as a counterrevolutionary technology that long preceded revolution. I suggest that rather than designate failure to the revolution, we should look elsewhere for the new potential for a resistance that disrupts these figurations and their effects. Through a counter-conduct analytic, the article posits that local human rights work is undertheorized as an important space to contest the power that conducts and encourages resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-85
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Resistance Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Cite this