This article deals with two notions that have become central in the Egyptian political and constitutional transition process since 2011 – citizenship and the “Civil State” – and presents the struggle to define them that took place during the 2012 writing of the Constitution. Even though the principle of citizenship is not seriously contested by any of the important political players, its scope and relationship with Islamic normativity (subordination, preeminence, or independence) have both been fiercely debated. As for the notion of the Civil State, it is characterized by an important semantic haziness, which results in a political tension around the issue of its definition, although there is relative consensus in Egypt regarding the term itself. The political and legal struggles around the writing and the adoption of the 2012 Constitution reveal how the tension related to these two notions has been embodied in the discussions surrounding several constitutional articles.
- civil state
- transition process