This cross-disciplinary, ethnographic, contextualized, and empirical volume—with an updated introduction to take account of the dramatic events of early 2011—explores the meaning and significance of urban space, and maps the spatial inscription of power on the mega-city of Cairo. Suspicious of collective life and averse to power-sharing, Egyptian governance structures weaken but do not stop the public’s role in the remaking of their city. What happens to a city where neo-liberalism has scaled back public services and encouraged the privatization of public goods, while the vast majority cannot afford the effects of such policies? Who wins and loses in the “march to the modern and the global” as the government transforms urban spaces and markets in the name of growth, security, tourism, and modernity? How do Cairenes struggle with an ambiguous and vulnerable legal and bureaucratic environment when legality is a privilege affordable only to the few or the connected? This companion volume to Cairo Cosmopolitan further develops the central insights of the Cairo School of Urban Studies.
In the cities of the Arab world, while the media focus overwhelmingly on questions of religiosity and war, the future of urban modernity and political globalism is taking shape. As the Egyptian state reaches out to capture the apparent promises of neoliberalism, Cairenes struggle over and redefine their place, identity, and material welfare. Bringing together a distinguished interdisciplinary group of scholars, this volume explores what happens when new forms of privatization meet collectivist pasts, public space is sold off to satisfy investor needs and tourist gazes, and the state plans for Egypt’s future in desert cities while stigmatizing and neglecting Cairo’s popular neighborhoods. These dynamics produce surprising contradictions and juxtapositions that are coming to define today’s Middle East. Luxury malls owned by the military or foreign investors compete with flourishing but criminalized open-air markets; Nubian, Upper Egyptian and labor-migrant identities confront a renaissance of Arab nationalism; and new chic coffee houses, crumbling movie palaces, and resurgent working-class cultures offer radically clashing versions of public and gender sociability. This volume launches the Cairo School of Urban Studies, committed to fusing political-economy and ethnographic methods and sensitive to ambivalence and contingency, to reveal the new contours and patterns of modern power emerging in the urban frame. Cairo shows us that divergent cosmopolitanisms—both elite and working-class—are emerging across a broad spectrum of the polity, making new claims for political space, recognition, and representation. Contributors: Mona Abaza, Nezar AlSayyad, Paul Amar, Walter Armbrust, Vincent Battesti, Fanny Colonna, Eric Denis, Dalila ElKerdany, Yasser Elsheshtawy, Farha Ghannam, Galila El Kadi, Anouk de Koning, Petra Kuppinger, Anna Madoeuf, Catherine Miller, Nicolas Puig, Said Sadek, Omnia El Shakry, Diane Singerman, Elizabeth A. Smith, Leïla Vignal, Caroline Williams.
Bringing together a distinguished interdisciplinary group of scholars, this volume explores what happens when new forms of privatization meet collectivist pasts, public space is sold off to satisfy investor needs and tourist gazes, and the state plans for Egypt’s future in desert cities while stigmatizing and neglecting Cairo’s popular neighborhoods. These dynamics produce surprising contradictions and juxtapositions that are coming to define today’s Middle East. The original publication of this volume launched the Cairo School of Urban Studies, committed to fusing political-economy and ethnographic methods and sensitive to ambivalence and contingency, to reveal the new contours and patterns of modern power emerging in the urban frame. Contributors: Mona Abaza, Nezar AlSayyad, Paul Amar, Walter Armbrust, Vincent Battesti, Fanny Colonna, Eric Denis, Dalila ElKerdany, Yasser Elsheshtawy, Farha Ghannam, Galila El Kadi, Anouk de Koning, Petra Kuppinger, Anna Madoeuf, Catherine Miller, Nicolas Puig, Said Sadek, Omnia El Shakry, Diane Singerman, Elizabeth A. Smith, Leïla Vignal, Caroline Williams.
Adel Azer Sohair Mehanna Mulki al-Sharmani Essam Ali
This study seeks to provide a critical analysis of child protection policies in Egypt and examine whether these policies are based on the rights-based model of child protection that is embodied in the Convention for Child Rights (CRC). It identifies the ways in which these policies fail to link child rights and child protection and thus are unable to provide integrated and accessible services that meet children’s needs. Cairo Papers in Social Science 30:1
From the politics of food to images in the media, this double issue of Cairo Papers in Social Science focuses on a wide array of emerging cultural patterns in modern-day Egypt and their social, political, and economic ramifications. All the contributions are based on papers delivered at the Cairo Papers Thirteenth Annual Symposium in May 2004, and cover four broad areas: media and language, Islamic marketing, taste and public space, and food and markets. Contributors include Ray Bush (‘Staying Hungry: Food Politics in Egypt and the Near East’), Sami Zubaida (‘Food: Egypt and the Middle East’), Lilia Labidi (‘Truth Claims in the Cartoon World of Nagui Kamel’), Madiha Doss (‘Cultural Dynamics and Linguistic Practice in Contemporary Egypt’), Huda Lutfi (‘Mulid Culture in Cairo: The Case of al-Sayyida A’isha’), Maha Abdelrahman (‘Divine Consumption: Islamic Goods in Egypt’), Iman A. Hamdy (‘Watch for the Devil: Israel in Egyptian Movies and Soap Operas’), Malak S. Rouchdy (‘Food Recipes and the Kitchen Space: The Construction of Social Identities and New Frontiers’), and Reem Saad (‘Transforming the Meaning and Value of Traditional Crafts in Egypt’). Cairo Papers Vol. 27, nos. 1 & 2.
For members of Cairo’s upper classes, cosmopolitanism is a form of social capital, deployed whenever they acquire or consume transnational commodities, or goods that are linked in the popular imagination to other, more ‘modern’ places. In a series of carefully contextualized case studies—of Arabic children’s magazines, Pokémon, private schools and popular films, coffee shops and fast-food restaurants—Mark Allen Peterson describes the social practices that create class identities. He traces these processes from childhood into adulthood, examining how taste and style intersect with a changing educational system and economic liberalization. Peterson reveals how uneasy many cosmopolitan Cairenes are with their new global identities, and describes their efforts to root themselves in the local through religious, nationalist, or linguistic practices.
Over the course of the twentieth century, most Middle East states adopted a shari’a-based system for recognizing marriages. Partly in reaction to these dynamics, new types of marriage that evade the control of the state and religious authorities have emerged. These marriages allow for men and women to engage in sexual relationships, but do not require that they register the marriage with the state, that they live together, or that the man be financially responsible for the wife or household. In this new study, Frances Hasso explores the extent to which these new relationship forms are used and to what ends, as well as the legal and cultural responses to such innovations. She outlines what is at stake for the various groups—the state, religious leaders, opposition groups, young people, men and women of different classes and locations, and feminist organizations—in arguments for and against these relationship forms.
In the light of the escalation of sectarian tensions during and after Mubarak’s reign, the predicament of the Arab world’s largest religious minority, the Copts, has come to the forefront. This book poses such questions as why there has been a mass exodus of Copts from Egypt, and how this relates to other religious minorities in the Arab region; why it is that sectarian violence increased during and after the 2011 Revolution, which epitomized the highest degree of national unity since 1919; and how the new configuration of power has influenced the extent to which a vision of a political order is being based on the principles of inclusive democracy. The book examines the relations among the state, the Church, Coptic citizenry, and civil and political societies against the backdrop of the increasing diversification of actors, the change of political leadership in the country, and the transformations occurring in the region. An informative historical background is provided, and new fieldwork and statistical data inform a thoughtful exploration of what it takes to build an inclusive democracy in post-Mubarak Egypt.
Based on unstructured interviews with thirteen Romanian–Egyptian couples presently living in Cairo, this study focuses on three interrelated aspects of these mixed marriages: the contexts that allowed the formation of the mixed families; the practices in which the couples engage in terms of household organization, gender relations, and kinship; and the role of religion in the lives of the mixed couples and how both the men and women position themselves in this regard. Cairo Papers Vol. 28, No. 1
This monograph centers on the effort to understand the issue of return migration to Palestine from a sociological point of view. Six papers examine various human situations among Palestinians, ranging from villages that have been divided by borders such as the Green Line to populations of Palestinian origin that have been cut off from their roots in Palestine and are now seeking to establish their lives elsewhere. The common theme is the role of borders and boundaries—those that people seek to cross and those that the wider political processes establish around existing populations. Cairo Papers Vol. 29, No. 1.
This pioneering, multidisciplinary volume, explores a rich constellation of ideas about the natural environment in the Middle East and their philosophical, political, historical, and gendered roots. It does this through close textual analyses of the Epic of Gilgamesh (Sharif Elmusa), Hayy Ibn Yazan and Robinson Crusoe (Robert Switzer), the Letter of the Animals (Elizabeth Sartain), and modern Egyptian fiction (Maysa Hayward). These are framed by an editor’s introduction and an article by John McNeill, winner of 2001 World History Association Book Award. Cairo Papers Vol. 26, no. 1.
There have been few attempts to understand contemporary Egyptian society, in particular growing internal pressures for change and their implications for the Middle East and the wider world. This book presents a series of analyses of politics, culture, and society, addressing the turmoil created by imposition of neo-liberal economic policies, the increasingly fragile nature of an authoritarian regime, the influence of movements for democratic opening and popular participation, and the impacts of Islamism. The authors argue that Egypt has entered a period of instability and assess the ability of the state to resist the new movements and the latters’ capacity to fulfill their aims. Contributors: Anne Alexander, Joel Beinin, Ray Bush, Aida Seif El-Dawla, Rabab El-Mahdi, Philip Marfleet, Ahmed El-Sayed El-Naggar, Sameh Naguib.
No chapter in Egypt’s contemporary history has been more turbulent and unpredictable than the past three years. In a very short period of time, the Arab world’s most populous country has seen a transition from rule by an iron-fisted dictatorship to a populist uprising to military omnipotence to Islamist electoral victory to constitutional turmoil to societal polarization. Egypt’s iconic revolution has been neither victorious nor defeated. Egypt in Flux is a collection of essays on the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of change in the country’s ongoing revolutionary current. While written over a span of several years, the essays are timeless in the historical context they provide and their ability to chart the country’s trajectory in the period ahead. From the conditions that precipitated the uprising and the eruption of national dissent to the derailing of the revolution, the author reflects on the pressing topics of the day while being mindful of the counterrevolutionary movements and the continuation of the unending uprising. From discussions about the illusion of fair and free elections, social inequities, and labor disparities to examinations of religion, sports, literature, and sexuality, the essays in this valuable and intellectually stimulating volume chart both the broad lines and the nuances of an unfinished revolution.
Galal Amin once again turns his attention to the shaping of Egyptian society and the Egyptian state in the half-century and more that has elapsed since the Nasserite revolution, this time focusing on the era of President Mubarak. He looks at corruption, poverty, the plight of the middle class, and of course, the economy, and directs his penetrating gaze toward the Mubarak regime’s uneasy relationship with the relatively free press it encouraged, the vexing issue of presidential succession, and Egypt’s relations with the Arab world and the United States. Addressing such themes from the perspective of an active participant in Egyptian intellectual life throughout the era, Galal Amin portrays the Mubarak regime’s stance in the domestic and international arenas as very much a product of history, which, while not exonerating the regime, certainly helps to explain it.
In a collection of articles originally published between 1995 and 2011 in Cairo’s Al-Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online (as well as in The Guardian and on Salon.com), Egyptian journalist Hani Shukrallah examines his own culture and society during what he terms “a tempestuous period of history for the region and for its relations with the rest of the world.” He makes unflinching observations and asks difficult questions in his attempts to reveal underlying truths about democracy, human development, regional power relations, and the demonization of Arabs and Muslims in the west. While most of the articles in this collection were written in what Shukrallah describes as the Arabs’ “age of ugly choices,” it ends on a high note: the Egyptian Revolution and the promise of a long-awaited Arab spring. In a 7000-word introduction, Shukrallah reexamines the period in question from the perspective of the Revolution, which he admits took him completely by surprise. An epilog includes a collection of articles written on the very eve of the Egyptian Revolution and as it was taking place.
This groundbreaking work presents original research on cultural politics and battles in Egypt at the turn of the twenty-first century. It deconstructs the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, drawing on conceptual tools in cultural studies, translation studies, and gender studies to analyze debates in the fields of literature, cinema, mass media, and the plastic arts. Anchored in the Egyptian historical and social contexts and inspired by the influential work of Pierre Bourdieu, it rigorously places these debates and battles within the larger framework of a set of questions about the relationship between the cultural and political fields in Egypt.
Egypt has placed its hopes on developing its vast and empty deserts as the ultimate solution to the country’s problems. New cities, new farms, new industrial zones, new tourism resorts, and new development corridors, all have been promoted for over half a century to create a modern Egypt and to pull tens of millions of people away from the increasingly crowded Nile Valley into the desert hinterland. The results, in spite of colossal expenditures and ever-grander government pronouncements, have been meager at best, and today Egypt’s desert is littered with stalled schemes, abandoned projects, and forlorn dreams. It also remains stubbornly uninhabited. Egypt’s Desert Dreams is the first attempt of its kind to look at Egypt’s desert development in its entirety. It recounts the failures of governmental schemes, analyzes why they have failed, and exposes the main winners of Egypt’s desert projects, as well as the underlying narratives and political necessities behind it, even in the post-revolutionary era. It also shows that all is not lost, and that there are alternative paths that Egypt could take.
Looking at encounters of European travelers with Egypt in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this collection of essays focuses on the experience of the less well known travelers and institutions. Contributors include: Lisa Bernasek, Briony Llewellyn, A.J. Mills, Charles Newton, John David Regan, John Rodenbeck, John Ruffle, Sarah Searight, Nicholas Warner. Vol. 23 No. 2
This ethnographic study of the Egyptian underground hip-hop scene examines the artists who collectively molded the scene and analyzes their practices and explores how these artists have interacted with and responded to political and social upheaval and change. It reveals how rappers approached and reformulated the genre in times of revolution and stasis to reveal how rap acts as a multi-layered form of expression. More specifically, it examines the location of the art form within the broader history of oppositional cultural expression in Egypt, outlining the artists’ oppositions to various hegemonic structures and critically deconstructing them to reveal that they often reflect dominant ideology.