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

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Diane Singerman, Paul Amar, Paul Edouard Amar
American Univ in Cairo Press, 2006 - Social Science - 542 pages
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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Contents

Contesting Myths Critiquing Cosmopolitanism
3
Cairo as NeoLiberal Capital? From Walled City to Gated
47
Cairo as Capital of Socialist Revolution?
77
Cairo as RegionalGlobal Economic Capital?
99
Cairo as GlobalRegional Cultural Capital?
187
Nasr Citys Shopping Malls
193
Cosmopolitan Belonging
221
Competing Global Cities Models
235
Cairo Heritage and Touristic Globalization
267
Social Control at alRifai Mosque
295
Global Dynamics and Local Strategies
313
The Politics of Refurbishing the Downtown
345
Cairo Subcultures and Media Contestation
373
Nubians
399
Cinema as Global
415
Cairos Media Exiles Television
445

Globalization and the Production
251

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About the author (2006)


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 editor of Cairo Contested (AUC Press, 2009).

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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