How do we explain the way in which change unfolded in the wake of the recent Egyptian uprisings? What can this tell us about the success or failure of related development policies? This IDS Bulletin contributes to our understanding of why and how the uprisings began, and their implications for development paradigms, concepts and practices.
In view of the politically volatile and dynamic situation on the ground, this issue neither provides an historical account of ongoing political struggles, nor does it assess impact or seek to predict outcomes. Rather, it analyses that moment when people revolted – when the tipping point was reached. The aim of this IDS Bulletinis to bring new empirical and conceptual insights on pathways of political and social change to an audience of development, area studies and democratisation academics, policy actors and practitioners who wish to interrogate the methodological and paradigmatic nuances of that rupture with the status quo.
The focus of this IDS Bulletin is, on the whole, Egypt, although many of the articles have strong resonances with Tunisia, Yemen and other countries in the region and beyond. The issue is distinctive in its engagement with the Egyptian revolt in its examination of the development theory, policy and practice nexus and in the selection of contributors on the basis of their positionality. Contributors are Egyptians who have one leg in activism and one leg in the policy-influencing arena, and whose perspectives are not commonly conveyed in mainstream academia. This is in effect one modest step to reverse the trend of bias in favour of the 'experts' from the West, to give the floor to local voices, not only academics but also activists and practitioners.