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The Struggle for “Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice”: (Re)Imagining Citizenship(s) and University Citizenship Education in Egypt


Situated within the context of the January 25 Egyptian Revolution and the subsequent socio-political transitions, this dissertation focuses on the experiences of 24 university students and educators in Egypt, particularly emphasizing meanings and actions of participatory citizenship and citizenship education. Through a hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative approach, I explore how the experiences of the January 25 Egyptian Revolution and subsequent events impacted the perceptions and actions of participatory citizenship for university students and educators in Egypt; To what extent does university students and educators in Egypt perceive their actions of participatory citizenship; and How do university students and educators conceive the current role of the university in fostering citizenship education?

I conclude that participants learn what it means to be a citizen from various sources, and practice those ideas in multiple spaces. The Revolution and subsequent socio-political events, in combination with other influences, have significantly impacted the perceptions of participatory citizenship for participants. And despite a number of challenges to participatory citizenship, the Revolution and subsequent socio-political events provided a critical pedagogical workshop where participatory citizenship was learned and practiced.

The Revolution and subsequent events have also impacted teacher attitudes and pedagogies. The participants reveal a connection between social and political events and their perceptions and experiences of teaching and learning, and perceive teaching and learning as a political act of citizenship.

Furthermore, participants perceive the university as important site where students can be change agents, where critical thinking is valued and promoted, where the university is seen as an essential part of the public sphere, where student empowerment is nurtured, and as a space where relevant pedagogy, peace education and the construction of good humans can occur. To enhance university citizenship education in Egypt, participants call on universities to focus on faculty and student development, civic engagement programs and international opportunities.

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