Cairo Cosmopolitan

Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East

Edited by Diane Singerman
Paul Amar

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

English edition
30 June 2006
564 pp.
80 b/w illus., 21 tables, 2 maps
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774249280
For sale worldwide

$39.50

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.

Diane Singerman

Diane Singerman is associate professor in the Department of Government at the School of Public Affairs of American University. She is the author of Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo and co-editor of Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (AUC Press, 2006).
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