Tag Archive: Egypt


At Space and Politics, Gaston Gordillo continues his Spinozan-Deleuzian account of the “revolutionary resonance” of the tumult spreading across the Arab world.

“The longer a resonance lasts and the farther it expands the stronger it becomes. During most of human history, the maximum speed at which a revolutionary resonance traveled was the speed of the bodies carrying it within them. [...]

“In the Egyptian Revolution, the synergy between the velocities generated on these networks of instant communication and in the urban terrain was decisive in allowing the multitude outmaneuver state violence and state propaganda. The revolution was fought at different yet inseparable velocities: the speed of swarms of bodies clashing with the police on the streets and the much-faster speed of the affective resonances generated by those clashes and amplified over the internet and TV networks not controlled by the Egyptian state like Al Jazeera. Disembodied and projected instantly as images, sounds, and text onto countless computers and TV screens, these resonances became embodied again by affecting the millions of bodies watching, listening, and reading. Not all bodies were affected the same way. Yet millions resonated positively, and not just in Egypt.”

Read the entire article here.

Revolutionary democracy

Here are a few thoughts after watching Frontline’s Revolution in Cairo, which is a very good 24-minute summary of how this particular democratic moment occurred, and after reading Badiou‘s, Hardt & Negri’s, Hallward‘s, Amit Rai‘s, and some other takes on the events.

(1) The recipe:

Tools + Techniques + Events + Vision = The revolution(s) we’ve been witnessing

The first three, in the Egyptian instance, are pretty easy to identify (click on the links). To oversimplify just a little, they are   View full article »

Spreading revolution

The New York Times has a couple of nice pieces on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions: an interactive account of the key events and a more detailed piece outlining the role of the different protest groups, bloggers and Facebook-ites, nonviolent resistance tactics, and the Obama administration.

A few quick thoughts:

1) Max Forte is right about the U.S.’s equivocation, its policy of “hedging its bets” in a mix of realism and opportunism.

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More thoughts on Egypt

Max Forte at Zero Anthropology* has a perceptive assessment of what he takes to be a (Hillary) “Clinton doctrine,” which he describes as the U.S.

hedging [its] bets by keeping a foot in almost all camps, by maintaining contact with diverse sectors in a society critical to U.S. national security interests, emphasizing “stability” when regime survival seems possible, and then emphasizing “orderly transition” when change seems probable. It is a mixture of realism and opportunism and a desire to intervene without being seen to intervene, a low cost foreign policy that builds on established bases of military aid and support for civil society groups. By maintaining open and positive channels of communication (with Mubarak, the military, the April 6 Movement, El Baradei, and even the Muslim Brotherhood [long a working ally of the U.S.]) the U.S. made sure that no matter what resulted, it would remain in the picture as a continued player of importance. Viewed in this light, there is nothing contradictory about U.S. statements on Egypt.

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The affective resonance of Tahrir Square

My thoughts on the “affective contagion” of revolutionary events such as those in Tehran a year and a half ago, or those currently happening in Cairo, have always been somewhat undertheorized. Posthegemony‘s Jon Beasley-Murray points to an exhilarating piece written by his UBC colleague Gastón Gordillo on Resonance and the Egyptian Revolution that is helpful for thinking these things through.

Gordillo begins:

“What has coalesced as a powerful, unstoppable force on the streets of Egypt is resonance: the assertive collective empathy created by multitudes fighting for the control of space. Resonance is an intensely bodily, spatial, political affair, materialized in the masses of bodies coming together in the streets of Egyptian cities in the past thirteen days, clashing with the police, temporarily dispersed by teargas and bullets, and regrouping again like an relentless swarm to reclaim the streets, push the police back, and saturate space with a collective effervescence. Resonance is what gives life to this human rhizome and the source of its power. View full article »

Egypt & everywhere

With too little time to follow the events in Egypt closely, I can’t add much to what other blogs and news sources are saying except to point to a few sources I’ve been finding useful, and to connect them up to some themes and discussions this blog has featured.

Uprisings, revolutions, and sudden political realignments are perfect subjects for process-relational philosophical reflection. Their causes are always somewhat mysterious; historians may reconstruct the events that led up to them, and may come up with theories to account for them, but these almost always remain highly contestable. They are moments when suddenly much more is at stake than is normally the case.

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