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Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo / Edition 1
     

Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo / Edition 1

by Diane Singerman
 

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ISBN-10: 0691025681

ISBN-13: 9780691025681

Pub. Date: 07/22/1996

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Intentionally excluded from formal politics in authoritarian states by reigning elites, do the common people have concrete ways of achieving community objectives? Contrary to conventional wisdom, this book demonstrates that they do. Focusing on the political life of the sha'b (or popular classes) in Cairo, Diane Singerman shows how men and women

Overview

Intentionally excluded from formal politics in authoritarian states by reigning elites, do the common people have concrete ways of achieving community objectives? Contrary to conventional wisdom, this book demonstrates that they do. Focusing on the political life of the sha'b (or popular classes) in Cairo, Diane Singerman shows how men and women develop creative and effective strategies to accomplish shared goals, despite the dominant forces ranged against them. Starting at the household level in one densely populated neighborhood of Cairo, Singerman examines communal patterns of allocation, distribution, and decision-making. Combining the institutional focus of political science with the sensitivities of anthropology, she uncovers a system of informal networks, supported by an informal economy, that constitutes another layer of collective institutions within Egypt and allows excluded groups to pursue their interests.

Avenues of Participation traces this informal system from its grounding in the family to its influence on the larger polity. Discussing the role of these networks in meeting fundamental needs in the community--such as earning a living, reproducing the family, saving and investing money, and coping with the bureaucracy--Singerman demonstrates the surprising power these "excluded" people wield. While the government has reduced politics to the realm of distribution to protect itself from challenges, she argues that the popular classes in Cairo, as consumers of goods and services, have turned exploiting the government into a fine art.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691025681
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/22/1996
Series:
Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
358
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.87(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration
Introduction3
Egypt and Popular Political Expression5
The Context and Approach of the Study17
Ch. 1The Family, Politics, and the Familial Ethos41
The Public/Private Dichotomy and Political Participation44
Patrimonialism, the Family, and Participation in a Middle Eastern Context45
The Familial Ethos49
Conclusion: An Ethos beyond the Household71
Ch. 2Reproducing the Family74
Choosing a Mate: "Shababiik, shababiik, id-dunya kullaha shababiik"77
Marriage Protocol, or the Rules of Engagement85
Sexuality and the Transgression of Public Norms92
The Cost of Marriage: An Economic Nightmare109
Raising the Capital to Marry121
Conclusions: Marriage, the Economy, and the State126
Ch. 3Networks: The Political Lifeline of Community132
Earning a Living138
Development: Education Networks160
The Bureaucracy and the State164
Ch. 4Informality: Politics and Economics in Tandem173
Informal and Formal Economic Activity in a Shabi Community179
Family Enterprises199
Informality Meets the State205
The Shab and Informality: Wages and Wealth231
Informality: The Economic and Political Consequences for the Nation238
Ch. 5Politics as Distribution244
Private Voluntary Organizations: A Mediated Distribution Point246
Elite Politics, the State, and the Shab255
Conclusions269
Notes273
Bibliography315
Index331

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