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Haunted histories: Nasserism and the promises of the past

Salem, Sara ORCID: 0000-0002-7872-5613 (2019) Haunted histories: Nasserism and the promises of the past. Middle East Critique, 28 (3). 261 - 277. ISSN 1943-6149

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Identification Number: 10.1080/19436149.2019.1633057


This article revisits the Nasserist project through the lens of haunting. It explores the afterlives of Nasserism, in particular in relation to Egypt’s move toward a free market economy from the 1970s onwards. To do this, I explore the Nasserist project in order to excavate some of the promises that were made and to trace the legacies these created. I argue that both these promises—only partially fulfilled—and the social violence they at times contained—continued to act as powerful political memories that limited Egyptian politics in the decades that followed. Thinking of Nasserism as a form of haunting allows for a deeper understanding of how different political projects seep into one another, problematizing the notion of a linear teleological or providential trajectory consisting of distinct eras. In distinction to work that has mobilized the concept of haunting (originally theorized by Jacques Derrida) in order to elaborate on the historical manifestation of damaging or violent legacies in the present, I argue that Nasserist forms of haunting should be read as both a productive and destructive normative force in the present. This article puts forward examples of both, particularly in relation to questions of social justice, socialism, and anti-imperialism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Editors of Middle East Critique
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2019 13:48
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2022 00:00

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