Militarizing the Nation
Egypt's accepted postcolonial history portrays the army as saving the "nation" and posing as its faithful guardian. Yet saving the nation meant militarizing it. Militarizing the NationReveals the visible and often invisible efforts by Egypt's semi-autonomous military to hegemonize the country's politics, economy, and society over the past six decades. The Egyptian army has adapted to and benefited from crucial moments of change. It weathered the transition to socialism in the 1960s, market consumerism in the 1980s, and neoliberalism from the 1990s onward, while successfully enhancing its political supremacy and expanding a mammoth business empire. Recently, the Egyptian military has fought back two popular uprisings, retained full power, and increased its wealth.
While adjusting to these shifts, military officers have successfully transformed urban milieus into an ever-expanding military camp. These spaces now host a permanently armed presence that exercises continuous surveillance over everyday life. Egypt's military business enterprises have tapped into the consumerist practices of the rich and poor alike, reaping unaccountable profit and optimized social command. In the meantime, military bureaucrats have securitized local urban actors to watch over the masses during times of either peace or rebellious turmoil. From a political economy approach and a Foucauldian perspective, Militarizing the Nation traces the genealogies of the Egyptian military's rise for those eager to know how such a controversial power maintains control.