Drawing from scholarship on authoritarian adaptation and on insight from legitimacy theory, we seek to examine to what degree the renewal of authoritarianism under ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in post-revolutionary Egypt can be understood as the establishment of a new political order with its own patterns of legitimation. The main focus of the discussion is al-Sisi's adaptation of legitimization strategies designed to justify his rule and ensure stability under severe repression and economic reforms. We discuss al-Sisi claims of personal legitimacy as a substitute for institutional legitimacy, his missionary role as a substitute for ideology, and his reshaped eudaemonic legitimacy. All these strategies of legitimation are formulated while rejecting the 2011 revolutionary legitimation and its promises for democracy. Such analysis, which goes beyond coercion or institutional explanations for authoritarian adaptation, scrutinizes the conceptual reconstruction of authoritarianism as a tool to ensure the consent of the citizens and their legitimacy to the renewal of authoritarianism.
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- 2011 revolution