"The Egyptian 1952 Revolution and 'The Philosophy of the Revolution': Analyzing the Construction of National Identity"
last update: 20151224
The Egyptian 1952 Revolution and "The Philosophy of the Revolution": Analyzing the Construction of National Identity
The theory of "Multiple Identities" has been argued by some scholars to explain why various nationalisms
have flourished in the Middle East. For instance, the scholars assume that Egyptians have three typical
identities: "Watan", "Qawm" and "Umma-Milla". These Arabic terms correspond to the English expressions,
"Egyptian Identity", "Arabic Identity" and "Islamic Identity", respectively.
Although the "Multiple Identities" have been theorized, they have not been tested through discourse analysis.
Therefore, from the perspective of constructivism, I analyze the political essay of Gamal Abdel Nasser, "The
Philosophy of the Revolution". Before analyzing the discourse, I reconsider the theory of "Multiple Identities"
and set time and space as an analytic point of national identity. Then I argue that "Egyptian Identity" is a
construction of national history that is always in the process of reconstruction. In his essay, Abdel Nasser
recalls his own experiences and memories and then integrates them into a history of Egyptian subordination
that is based on the revolutionary junta's ideology of "Dual Revolutions". In this construction of national
history, even Nasser's own memory of childhood is forced to be reinterpreted.
In conclusion, I discuss the relationship between the construction of national identity and the peculiarity of
memories, experiences and cultures.
Keywords: Identity, History and Memory, Egyptian Nationalism, The Philosophy of the Revolution, Gamal Abdel Nasser