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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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My Eighteen Days

My Eighteen Days

(p.21) Prelude My Eighteen Days
Martyrs and Tricksters

Walter Armbrust

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains that the first eighteen days of the Egyptian Revolution culminating in the downfall of Hosni Mubarak were important because they created a fund of symbolic resources—stories people told about where they were and what they did, and mass mediation of narratives and images, both during and after the events. It then narrates some of the author's stories. They resonate with the widely felt process of entering into a liminal void, and they help establish some of the places and people who will feature in subsequent chapters. At the very beginning of the revolution, the author often spent his days working in a rented flat, which was not far from Tahrir Square. He spent his days there attempting to read various materials relevant to his research on the history of Egyptian mass media. After January 25, trying to glean insights on the history of radio and television from old magazines was an exercise in futility, not because the magazines were not rich sources for his research, but because the revolution taking place in the streets below was a constant distraction.

Keywords:   Egyptian Revolution, Hosni Mubarak, symbolic resources, narratives, liminal void, Tahrir Square, Egyptian mass media

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