Rumour and decertification in exile politics: evidence from the Egyptian case

David McKeever*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Does exile affect activism and if so how? In this paper, the case of Egyptian activists exiled in England is taken as illustrative of processes typical of exiled activism. The case study draws on primary and secondary sources including a series of biographical interviews with exiled activists. The analysis compares activism in Egypt with exiled activism in England using the participants’ critical self-reflections to explain the mechanisms mediating the changes. Contrary to reasonable expectations that exile is a spontaneous response to a change in political context, the conditions for exile predate banishment and lie within the institutions of dictatorship which decertify activism. Decertification continues throughout the exile process as fear of repression becomes internalized within the movement. Within the sanctuary of the host country, a process of brokerage counteracts decertification expanding and modifying the exile repertoire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1261
Number of pages15
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • social movements
  • exile
  • rumour
  • decertification
  • contentious politics
  • Arab Spring


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