readme.txt: „Copts and the Security State. Violence, Coercion, and Sectarianism in Contemporary Egypt“

Reading, writing and publishing are the core of being a researcher in the humanities. In the section readme.txt, we present publications of the scholars of the Max Weber Foundation. Four short questions and answers make you want to read!

In this episode, Laure Guirguis, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut, gives us an insight into her book “Copts and the Security State. Violence, Coercion, and Sectarianism in Contemporary Egypt“:pid_26146

What question can the reader of your book answer after reading it?

How to understand the contemporary rise of identity politics. In contemporary Egypt, sectarianism should not be analyzed through the lens of secularism, or of authoritarianism considered as a typically Middle Eastern product. It should rather be understood as a by-product of a global security-turn, which puts to work politics and narratives of identity. Hence, this book sheds light on the structural violence in Egyptian society, by closely examining an array of social, discursive and symbolical practices.  Up to the present day, the reiteration of discriminatory practices in several areas of Egyptian society has enhanced the multilayered subjugation of Coptic citizens. And sectarianism became a structuring principle of Egyptian society.

What was the most surprising discovery or the most striking finding as your book project progressed?

The Coptic Church, and especially the Coptic leadership, has contributed to the communitarization of Egyptian society. In this regard, this book analyzes the foundation and engineering of the Pope’s authority in order to highlight the paradoxical consequences of Shenuda’s rule, as well as the infra-community dynamics that have bolstered sectarianism. Yet, the book also explores various strategies of resistance to state-imposed minoritization processes. In return, it analyzes how the regime and the Coptic Church integrate or neutralize critics and dissent.

From which author would you like a preface?

Donald TRUMP….  (no further comment).

 Which three hashtags summarize your book best?

#Sectarianism #Violence #Security

Guirguis, Laure: Copts and the Security State. Violence, Coercion, and Sectarianism in Contemporary Egypt, Stanford (Stanford University Press) 2016, ISBN 978-1503600782.


Laure Guirguis is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Orient-Institut of the Max Weber Foundation in Beirut. A graduate in Philosophy (Paris-1 Sorbonne and Nanterre) and in Chinese language and civilization studies (INALCO, Paris), she holds a PhD in Political Studies from the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris).


Prize draw: Tell us on Facebook or Twitter why you are interested in the topic and why you would like to read „Copts and the Security State. Violence, Coercion, and Sectarianism in Contemporary Egypt“. We raffle a copy of the book among all those who post a comment on Facebook and Twitter.

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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