No Bread, No Freedom, No Social Justice: How EU-Egyptian Human Rights Discourse Undermines Democracy

Andrea Teti, Gennaro Gervasio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Conventional approaches to democratization in the Middle East take for granted the priority of some civil-political rights (e.g. voting) over others (e.g. rights of association or protest, socio-economic rights). The discursive structure of these approaches has framed both the promotion of democracy by the EU and regional governments’ counter-conductive re-framing against that effort. But this pas de deux is part of a broader dynamic in which the common ground shared by both these efforts frames democracy so as to deny and delegitimize both the conception of democracy held by MENA populations themselves and the political and socio-economic demands of those same populations. Governments, in short, are engaged in ‘counter-conducting’ their own populations. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis of key documents, public opinion survey data, and activist interviews, an analysis of the Egyptian case shows that the discursive competition between governments is (also) a dance around democracy which seeks to avoid the more radical, egalitarian demands by populations
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East
EditorsArmando Salvatore, Sari Hanafi, Kieko Obuse
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford Univerity Press; Oxford
ISBN (Electronic)10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190087470.001.0001
ISBN (Print)9780190087470
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 2021


  • Egypt
  • Arab Spring
  • activists
  • European Union foreign policy
  • EU
  • democracy
  • European Union
  • survey research
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Public Opinion
  • human rights
  • social rights
  • Economic rights


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