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Martyrs and TrickstersAn Ethnography of the Egyptian Revolution$
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Walter Armbrust

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162645.001.0001

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Revolution as Liminal Crisis

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Martyrs and Tricksters

Walter Armbrust

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of the January 25 Revolution, or the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. It also outlines the formal characteristics of liminality and its relevance to politics. The book explores revolution through the concept of liminality, which is understood as a condition characteristic of all transitions between normative social states. Liminality allows for flexible articulation between the political and social, artistic, or cultural spheres and is also attentive to the spatial dimensions of performance. A thread that runs through much of the book is martyrdom, specifically its use in political performances. The chapter then introduces the concept of political Tricksters. In the uncomfortable condition of protracted liminality, Tricksters—beings at home in liminality, common in folklore, mythology, and literature—can become dangerous in politics. The structuring of liminality as precarity enables the rise of Trickster politics on a global scale.

Keywords:   January 25 Revolution, Egyptian Revolution, liminality, politics, revolution, martyrdom, political performances, political Tricksters, Trickster politics

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