Maria Gloria Polimeno

Department: College of Social and International Studies
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Research Centre/Unit: IAIS Middle East Politics

Project Summary

My research entitled 'Behind Power-Making: the construction of internal political legitimacy in Egypt after the 2013 coup' looks at the dynamics of internal political legitimacy in Egypt after the military coup that in 2013 ousted Mohammed Morsi putting an end to the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP’s rule, which were replaced by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.Taking a modified Weberian conception of legitimacy combined with Omnibalancing theory and dynamics of  leadership making, the work looks at four distinct and specific phases in the 2013-2019 timeframe to understand how the legitimation process evolved, left the void unfilled  and then transformed. The approach is top-down and based on inputs and outputs sides of political legitimacy. What this study intends to achieve is a wider understanding on the activity of internal legitimation in a politically, socially and eventually ideologically transformed society like Egypt after the 2013 coup under al-Sisi. The importance of this research is inscribed into the political structural change Egypt and the Middle East underwent between 2013 and 2019. 

This work apart from representing a  novelty in  up to dated contributions in the field of Middle East Politics, capitalises on the 2011 and 2013 political episodes approached in this study as 'critical junctures' and thus interrogates the call into question of legitimacy, and the historical state attempts to gain it in a political system approached in this study as 'upgraded', to make use of Heydemann' s words (2011), toward what this study hypothesizes is a more personalist regime.The findings of this research are generated out of extensive fieldwork and interviews with international scholars, political leaders, religious-political representatives, representatives from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Bruxelles-based EU representatives and has been funded by the Doctoral College. 

Findings and study contribution:

The findings will have relevance as a contribution to the transformation of the Egyptian state and institution, recognising the consequences such internal change can generate socially at international and ultimately diplomatic level. 


Transformation of the manuscript into a book

Wider Research Interests

 I am active in the following fields, both theoretically and empirically,  which have been developed in combination of the teaching activity. 

  • Transformations of States and Institutions in the Middle East
  • Authoritarianisms 
  • Political Legitimacy and Leaderships
  • Islamism 
  • Party-politics and party-system
  • Nationalisms 
  • Democratisation
  • Terrorism and Violence 
  • Security Studies (Standard and Critical)
  •  (International) Poltical Economy 

Authored Publications/Reports

(in preparation) Polimeno, M.G. (2020) Transformation of political parties and attitude towards party politics in Egypt under Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Middle East Critique

Polimeno, M.G (2018) Review:The New Middle East: Protests and Revolution in the Arab World, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 45:2 Routledge London, p.223-243

Polimeno, M.G (2018) Review: Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia and Routledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics, International Affairs, 94:5 Oxford University Press, 318-319

Polimeno, M.G (2015) Book Chapter (invited) Fury and Soldiery of Non-God: ISIS’s Psycho-Structural Dysfunctions and the Future of Counter-Terrorism’, in Regional Integration and National Disintegration in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East ed. Imad El Anis and Natasha Underhill, Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Polimeno, M.G (2015) The 2014 Egyptian Constitution: Balancing Leadership with civil rights (alwataniyya), Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, University of Zurich, Vol. 2 issue 1, 1-67

Polimeno, M.G (2018) Review:The Peacebuilding Puzzle: Political Order in Post-Conflict States’ , Democratisation , 25:1

Polimeno, M.G. (2020) Militarising the Nation: the Army, Business and Revolution in Egypt , British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies