- Shattered Worlds: Political Trauma Amongst Young Activists in Post-Revolutionary Egypt
- The Journal of North African Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Based on qualitative testimonial research with Egyptian youth activists, this article argues that Egypt’s post-revolutionary aftermath has been profoundly traumatic. Trauma shatters one’s assumptive world as it confronts one with the fragility of existence and the possibility of immediate death. Activists experienced automatic psychological coping mechanisms of intrusion (e.g. dreams and nightmares) and numbing, but Egypt’s post-revolutionary social and political context inhibited the operationalisation of non-automatic, socially embedded, coping mechanisms of reintegration and reinterpretation. The former entails the reintegration of one’s experiences into an adjusted assumptive world through a shared holding space and the latter the reinterpretation of the suffered traumas through a positive outcome. In the absence of socially embedded coping mechanisms, due to political polarisation and a lack of positive revolutionary outcomes, Egypt’s social trauma deepened as is illustrated by the depoliticisation of activists as they tried to mend their shattered assumptive worlds.
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