Politics, Economics, and Social Issues
English edition  
May  2006
564 pp.
80 b/w illus., 21 tables, 2 maps 
Hardbound
15X23 cm
$39.50
LE180
ISBN 978 977 424 928 0
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Cairo Cosmopolitan

Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East Edited by Diane Singerman
Paul Amar

A multifaceted look at life, culture, politics, and society in modern Cairo

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.
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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 (AUC Press, 1997). Paul Amar is assistant professor of law and society at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is co-editor of The Middle East in Brazil: South-South Relations, Migrations and Recognitions and Police Planet: The Global/Local Origins of Authoritarian Security.

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“Fascinating and illuminating . . . valuably setting the context for debates on urban hierarchy, globalization, and cosmopolitanism in a conflict-torn region.”—Richard Falk, Princeton University

“This is how social science should be done. The Cairo School’s cosmopolitanism from below is enormously important because it is everyone’s cosmopolitanism: the global capitalism of shirt and shibshib manufacture—and of those who wear them. Their work shows the intellectually and politically generative power of ordinary Egyptians—and the importance of intensely empirical qualitative analysis for understanding politics. The Cairo School doesn’t use theory—it generates theory, for theory grows out of the particular.”—Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania

“There is no doubt in my mind that the future of the urban world lies not in London, New York, and Tokyo or the other global cities of the North, but in the cities of the global South like Bombay, Sao Paulo, and Cairo. The new Cairo School of Urban Studies, launched in this volume, will offer both the substance and methodological insights to decipher the logic of urban articulations of late capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”—Nezar AlSayyad, Center for Middle East Studies, University of California at Berkeley

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