This paper is premised on a central hypothesis that argues the processes of surveillance and control in the colonial and post-colonial state are related to the growth of the state apparatus and its ideological discourse, as well as to the structuring of its elites in accordance with an externalist model of modernity that emerged in the periphery of the capitalist world. Within the framework of this hypothesis, Zayid used historical data and literature analysis to reveal the manner in which the processes of surveillance became institutionalized in the modern Egyptian state (the era of colonialism and its aftermath). Egypt’s methods of direct surveillance were transformed into institutions whose functions became increasingly intricate as the state structure became more complex and opposition to the existing political regimes grew. At the same time, these institutions came to increasingly rely on the symbolic power of the state and its agencies of surveillance and control, applying violence to broader social circles, making it an indirect tool to subdue and control individuals. The paper investigates the significance of surveillance mechanisms and control in terms of the formation of the political elites, the type of discourse adopted by these elites, and the inherent contradiction in the roles that they fulfill. Implicitly, the paper also reveals the significance of surveillance mechanisms and control in relation to the making of a national state during and after the colonial era and, more specifically, the fragile nature of this construction, devoid of a sturdy economy or real plans for development.