Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the Power of Its Slogans: A Critical Discourse Analysis Study

Khaled Al Masaeed


Egypt, the most populated country in the Arab world, erupted in mass protests in January 2011 against the oppressive rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Protesters all over Egypt in general and in Tahrir Square in Cairo wanted Mubarak to leave. Protesters used different dialects, languages, and modes to get their message across. After 18 days of angry protests and after losing the support of the military and the US, Mubarak finally understood the message and resigned on Feb. 11, ending almost 30 years of dictatorial rule. This article builds on studies in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and its implementation of interdisciplinarity to investigate the slogans―fixed expressions, usually chosen carefully by organizers and activists, which are often chanted by political groups and protestors at demonstrations that were used during the Egyptian revolution in late January and February 2011. Moreover, the article shows how CDA―through embracing text as a dialogue and site for interaction, social goods and social languages, interpersonal relations and discourse, multimodality, and intertextuality can help to produce theoretically sound interpretation that is appropriate for the analysis of how Egyptians used the power of language through these slogans to empower themselves, challenge their government, and overthrow the former president Hosni Mubarak.


Critical discourse analysis; Egyptian revolution; Multimodality; Language and power

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