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 Volume 34

  1. Abstract:

    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, 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.

  2. Abstract:

    The sociology of sports in the Middle East has been neglected compared to other world regions. This volume aspires to encourage a greater focus on this topic. Here are assembled papers that discuss various aspects of this subject. As it happens all deal with football (soccer) largely in Egypt but including other Middle Eastern countries. Some are historically or politically oriented while others take a more sociological approach. Papers deal with the relationship between organized sports and fans, with the special place of youngsters and women in sports, or with the role of sports in a more general understanding of culture and society as indicators of modernization and other facets of social change. Sportive competitions arouse keen passions around such issues as gender, class, and nationality, while they raise questions about leadership on and off the field, and about the economic impact of the games. The topic needs more research. 

    Contributors: Murat Yildiz, Mahfoud Amara, James Dorsey, Ereny Zarif, Nashaat Hussein, Lamia Bulbul, Monia Lachheb, Dalia Ibraheem


     

  3. Abstract:

    The research examines the process of unionizing domestic workers highlighting the potentialities, as well as the obstacles confronting it. It also looks into the multiple power relations that shape their union through axes of class, gender, race, and nationality, suggesting that the 'domestic worker' is not a singular category rather it is inflicted with gendered, racial and national divisions. The research also situates this struggle within the larger scene of the labor union ‘movement’ in the country suggesting that under the current neoliberal order, labor unions cannot continue to ignore these 'excessive' laboring bodies that are increasingly informal, migrants and women. The research finally discusses the contribution of women's rights organizations in rendering visible cases of abuse against migrant domestic workers. It argues that the 'death' of class politics made women's rights organizations address migrant domestic workers issues as a separate labor category, further contributing to their production as an 'exception' under neoliberalism.

  4. Abstract:

    In recent years, the food question has been a central concern for politicians, economists, international organizations, activists and NGOs alike, as well as social scientists at large. This interest has emerged from the global food crisis and its impact on the environment and the political economy and security of the global south, as well as the expansion of scholarly studies relating food issues to agrarian questions with the objective of developing theoretical frameworks that would allow for a critical analysis of the current food issues at historical, cultural, social, political and economic levels. 

    In this context, Cairo Papers organized its 2016 symposium around the food question in the Middle East. Papers in this collection address the food question from both its food and agricultural aspects, and approach it as the site of political and economic conflicts, as the means of socio-cultural control and distinction, and as the expression of national and ethnic identities. 

     

    Contributors: Ellis Goldberg, Saker ElNour, Hala Barakat, Khaled Mansour, Malak S. Rouchdy, Habib Ayeb, Christian Handerson, Sara Pozzi, and Sara El-Sayed.

     

 Volume 33

  1. Abstract:

    This issue presents a set of papers delivered at Cairo Papers Annual Symposium in Spring 2012 on “Masculinities in Egypt and the Arab World: Historical, Literary and Social Science Perspectives”. While reflecting upon the Arab Spring, these papers cover several themes that include utilizing the concept of hegemonic masculinity in productive ways, the role of the state in promoting certain types of masculinities while devaluing and disciplining others, the potential role of feminism and activism in influencing masculinities, and the effects of colonialism, nationalism, and postcolonialism, as well as war and violence. Presenting cases from Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia, they seek to humanize, contextualize and historicize masculinities to particular times and places in the Middle East.

    Contributors: Mustafa Abdalla, Samira Aghacy, Wilson Jacob, Hanan Kholoussy, Florence Martin and Helen Rizzo.

  2. Abstract:

    Anthropology as a discipline came to Egypt around 1900, as foreign anthropologists reported home on the culture they found. Gradually the intellectual approach was influenced by the functionalist school, stressing that a society consists of interlocking parts. As Egyptians took the lead in anthropology, in the 1930s, the discipline entered into the debate about the need to reform Egyptian society and culture, especially in the rural areas, against a general background of functionalism. This approach dominated through the 1960s, when there was a break in Egypt because of the six-day war and in world anthropology because of the emergence of new intellectual models. This study traces the evolution of anthropology in Egypt through the stories of its practitioners such as Blackman, Galal, Evans-Pritchard, Hocart, Abbas Ammar, Hamid Ammar, Berque, Abou Zeid, el Hamamsy, Uways, and their contemporaries, showing their challenges and accomplishments. 

  3. Abstract:

    In the wake of January 25, 2011, popular uprisings, youth, and leaders from Kanisset Kasr el Dobara (KDEC), the largest Protestant congregation in the Middle East, situated on Tahrir Square embarked on new, unpredictable political projects. This ethnography seeks to elucidate the ways that youth and leaders utilized religious imagery and discourse and relational networks in order to carve out a place in the Egyptian public sphere regarding public religion, national belonging, and the ideal citizen.  Evangelical Egyptians at KDEC navigated the implications of their colonial heritage and transnational character even as their leaders sought to ground the congregation in the Egyptian national imagery and emerging revolutionary political scene. I argue that these negotiations were built upon powerful paradoxes concerning liberal politics, secularism, and private versus public religion, which often implicated Evangelicals in the same questions being raised in public discourse concerning Islamist politics and religious minorities. 

  4. Abstract:

    Egypt is a country of its people. What has been the effect on its inhabitants of the 2011 revolution and subsequent developments? Two years later, in 2013, a conference held under the auspices of the Cairo Papers in Social Science, examined this issue from the points of view of anthropologists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, and urban planners. The papers collected here reveal the strategies that various actors, farmers, workers, and civil servants employed in this situation. The connecting link is the political economy or perhaps better the social economy, as the links between society and culture on the one hand and the economic activity on the other are explored. Throughout we are concerned with the initiatives people took to affect their circumstances, and which have implications for Egypt’s future.

    Contributors: Ellis Goldberg, David Sims, Yasmine Ahmed, Deena Abdelmonem, Dina Makram-Ebeid, Clement Henry, Sandrine Gamblin, Hans Christian Korsholm Nielsen, Zeinab Abul-Magd.

Volume 32

  1. Abstract:

    This study critically analyzes the paradigms and practices of planning in Egypt since 1952. It interrogates the politics of national and physical planning while tracing the ideas that informed the establishment of new settlements in the country across regimes of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. Based on primary and secondary data, the study argues that under Nasser, plans often diverged from their blueprints and revealed the myth of ‘technical objectivity’ that underpinned the planning industry. It outlines the program of new settlements under Sadat and unveils the systematic exclusion of planners from decision-making apparatuses while institutionalizing ‘profit-opportunism’ in favor of private interests. The study then demonstrates the decline of planning under Mubarak and its emergence into a ‘special purpose vehicle’ in service of real estate developments associated with neoliberal shifts of the economy and skewed towards resource and privileges concentration in the hands of a few thus further exacerbating uneven spatial morphologies.

  2. Abstract:

    This monograph is a collection of papers delivered at the Cairo Papers annual symposium. It revisits agrarian transformation in Arab countries in the light of new realities and emerging challenges. Apart from the urgency of the deepening food crisis, such realities include environmental challenges, changes in consumption and lifestyle choices, and a new set of rules governing the conditions of access to resources. The issue investigates the commonality and diversity in the current processes of agrarian transformation, based on empirical case studies from different Arab countries.

    Contributors include Habib Ayeb, Francois Ireton, Sonia Ben Mariam, Myriam Ababsa, Mauro van Aken, Hadeer EL Shafie, and Reem Saad.

  3. Abstract:

    An examination of the cultural meanings of “belly dance” in Egypt. 

    Considering the paradoxical position of al-raqs al-baladi or “belly dance” in Egyptian social life, as both a vibrant and a contested cultural form, this issue of Cairo Papers in Social Science considers the impact of wider socio-cultural and political forces on the marginalization of professional performers, on the one hand, and in defining the parameters for non-professional performances on the other hand. Through interviews with professional and non-professional female dancers in Egypt, it explores the relationship between al-raqs al-baladi and the dynamic cultural repertoire that produces notions of femininity and normative personhood in Egypt. As a dance that Egyptians learn in childhood, it exposes the cardinal relationship between culture and body movement. The study received the Magda al-Nowaihi Award for best graduate work on gender studies in 2010.

  4. Abstract:

    This Manuscript offers the diachronic analysis of the development of street protests in Egypt since 2000 that led to the downfall of Mubarak in 2011. It shows how the January 25 uprising was the culminating episode of negotiating power relations in a series of five consecutive contentious cycles since 2000. Based on a conceptual framework combining premises of social movement theory, power and knowledge, and sociology of space, it argues that the negotiation of power relations in Egypt has been expressed through the ‘battle’ over socially produced protest spaces. Authority, represented through security forces, attempted to keep the streets ‘orderly’ and maintain territorial control. Protesters attempted to gain this territorial control over streets and squares and tried to politicize them by constituting and expanding protest spaces that symbolized resistance and discontent against existing power structures. An analysis of these interactions has explanatory value for understanding why the ‘Egyptian Street’ evolved the way it did.

     

Volume 31

  1. Abstract:

    While sacred spaces cannot be narrowed down to particular forms or meanings, they do in their meanings and functions express fundamental values and principles, and in doing so, they perform the work of religion itself. This issue is made of a collection of essays on the various meanings, functions, and negations of sacred space in Egypt as well as the Middle and Near East. It is divided into three parts: meanings and functions of contemporary sacred spaces, historical perspectives on sacred space, and sacred space in literature and philosophy.

    Contributors: Cassandra R. Chambliss, Anna Tozzi Di Marco, Mark Sedgwick, Bradley Clough, Michael Reimer, A.C.S. Saunders, David Blanks, Richard Byford, and Robert Switzer.

  2. Abstract:

    This study investigates the relation between law and social change in Egypt through an ethnographic study of how women use courts within the context of paternity lawsuits. It aims to analyze the challenges that the formal legal approach to empowering women face once it is translated into every day socio-legal experiences and court repertoires.  It also seeks to trace the pathologies inherent in personal status law reform and every day legal practices in Egypt. The study attests to the limitations of law as an agent of social change in the private domain of the family, and the difficulty of separating formal legal rules from informal social practices.

  3. Abstract:

    This collection of essays builds on presentations and debates that were part of Cairo Papers 19th Annual Symposium “Sights of Knowledge: Debates about Visual Production in the Middle East” held in spring 2010.  It also integrates commissioned contributions by other authors to reflect the wide scope of visual productions and engagements with and about the Middle East. By placing the production of visual knowledge in/about the Middle East, primarily focusing on film and photography, the papers seek to contribute to the modalities through which the contributors engage the Middle East.  Of special significance is a paper that deals with the January 25th revolution and the visual productions and effects thereof. How was the revolution experienced through the visual production of everyday life on the Square?  And how and what forms of visual engagements allow us to tell different facades of experiences and demands that occasioned the revolution? 

    Contributors: Hanan Sabea, MarkWestmoreland, Fadwa El-Guindi, Suzem Kocer, Diana Allen, Pascale Feghali, Elizabeth Wickett, Yasser Alwan, Heba Farid, Mona Abaza, and Angela Harutyunyan.

     

 Volume 30

  1. Abstract:

    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. It also reviews international experiences in child protection policies and highlight the lessons that can be useful to emulate. Lastly, it makes recommendations for the development of a rights-based child protection system in Egypt.

     This research is based predominantly on a desk study. In addition, three in-depth interviews were conducted with the Head of the Directorate of Social Defense, the Director of the Center for Referral and Guidance, and a social worker at the Directorate of Social Defense.

  2. Abstract:

    This study provides an ethnographic account of Abu Minqar, a conglomerate of Egyptian villages in the western desert envisaged as a government project to resettle populations from the Nile Valley and Delta regions and to develop reclaimed desert land, which has been mapped out as a planned community. The government projects responsible for its establishment in reclaimed desert land foresaw a self-contained community in the greening desert meant to absorb Egypt’s expanding population and alleviate a growing unemployment problem. However, Abu Minqar’s existence rather than directed by orderly canals is contingent upon social and spatial networks that reach beyond the boundaries of the physical community, beyond the village, literally and metaphorically beyond the spaces mapped out for its existence. Abu Minqar and its inhabitants are in no way static or confined to a definite geographic area, despite their isolation and marginality with regard to urban life and economic markets in Egypt. Through several ethnographic lenses, which include marriage, spatial distribution, and agricultural practices, social spaces become apparent and illustrate the unbounded nature of Abu Minqar and the contingent role of various networks in constituting the communities’ everyday experiences of pasts, presents, and futures.

  3. Abstract:

    Since the mid-1970s, Egypt has been witnessing large and far-reaching flows of outmigration to various destinations across the globe. This research explores the journeys of migration and desire of Egyptian migrant workers, men and women, who were professionals in Egypt during the 1990s and migrated to occupy low-wage/low-status employment positions in New York City's service sector. It focuses on their migration stories and histories, their experiences of contradictory class mobility, their production of households and families, as well as their racialization in the post-9/11 era.

    Based on a multi-sited ethnography among Egyptian workers in Egypt and the U.S., the study argues that the entrance of the less-privileged Egyptians into the New York City's service sector is fueled and articulated by notions of desire, strategizing and individual responsibility. Although such notions are individualized, they are re-articulated to maintain a middle-class status for migrant workers and their families in Alexandria, Cairo, and Kafr al-Dawar.

    This study contributes to the literature of Egyptian international migration in a number of ways, mainly through conceptualizing the case of Egyptian migrant workers in New York City within the frameworks of globalization, transnationalism, and neoliberalism in Egypt and in the U.S.  Second, it provides a historically situated macro-, intermediate-, and micro-analysis on Egyptian international migration to the U.S. Third, it probes into the culture and politics of the Egyptian migrant workers in the U.S. through simultaneously synthesizing neoliberalism and cultural globalization, policies and regimes of nation-states as well as transnational social fields produced by and among migrants and their social networks.

    Yasmine M. Ahmed is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at l'Université de Paris X Ouest Nanterre la Défense. She works as a research assistant at the Social Research Center of AUC. 

  4. Abstract:

    This issue seeks to investigate questions of oil and water resources contestation, wars, and cooperation in the context of the Gulf region, especially Iraq, and of the Nile Basin. It tries to explore different opinions, rather than arrive at consensus, regarding the following questions: Does scarcity lead to violent conflicts? Or does abundance? And once war starts, what is the role of resources in expanding/ limiting the scope and intensity of war and prolonging/ shortening it? Finally could resources, whether scarce or abundant, induce cooperation instead of dispute and violence? Why and how?

    Contributors: Amita Baviskar, Ana Elisa Cascao, Ibrahim Elnur, Richard N. Tutwiler, Mohamed Soliman, Robert Mabro, Sharif S. Elmusa, and Greg Muttitt.