Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 April 2020
The third chapter traces the decline of Nasserist hegemony and the rise of a new ruling class and its project of infitah (literally translated to ‘opening’). Marking Egypt’s opening to global capital and the failure of state-led capitalist development, these years see the dominance of neoliberal restructuring and Westernization. I argue that while this ruling class did attempt to create hegemony, its project was weaker than the Nasserist project. Engaging in debates on the effects of neoliberalism in the Middle East, the chapter argues that it was this bloc that laid the foundations for Egypt’s neoliberal trajectory but failed to create a hegemonic project strong enough to maintain the same level of hegemony as the Nasser-led bloc and thus had to rely on transnational social and ideological forces in order to rule. The question of transnational capitalist development and its effects across postcolonial contexts frames this chapter, as I argue that there is a correlation between weakening hegemony and neoliberal restructuring. This era is thus understood through Fanon’s notion of a dependent bourgeoisie, as well as Gramsci’s notion of an interregnum, a period of transition.