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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

A New Normal?

A New Normal?

The Iron Fist and the False Promise

(p.206) Chapter 10 A New Normal?
Martyrs and Tricksters

Walter Armbrust

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes how, in “Trickster politics,” the figure of the Trickster is connected to liminality, and revolution can be understood as a liminal crisis that causes an unpredictable transition, and potentially a transition to a “new normal” that nobody can anticipate. Taufiq ʻUkasha instantiated a Trickster politician. He was a counterrevolutionary propagandist, and possibly an operative of Egyptian military intelligence when it was run by Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi himself is a Trickster insofar as he comes into political office as an outsider, and rules as an outsider—capriciously, in an atmosphere of relentless conspiracy, by resorting to violence as a fundamental condition of governance, but also by means of substituting fantastic promises for political hegemony. Moreover, Sisi is legible not just as a Trickster, but as a global actor in an “age of the Trickster.” While one might argue about whether a given politician truly deserves to be described as a Trickster, the figure of the Trickster is universal. One can scarcely contest its existence.

Keywords:   Trickster politics, liminality, revolution, Trickster politician, Taufiq ʻUkasha, Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, violence, political hegemony, conspiracy

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