Comment from: none that matters
I may not be as smart as you guys, but why cannot see how neo-liberal policies threaten social cohesion? Wouldn’t it make more sense to conceptualize neo-liberal policies as the market technologies which span the given time-frame for the development of the phenomenon and not simply something deterministic of its creation? the two ARE very different things. to blame segregation of the community based on the availability of new land open to development is kinda shallow. it hardly highlights why or how the need to segregation emerge.
I’ve just finished re-reading this post. if this post about the thesis is accurate, this thesis is horrible. If these community members are suffering under a ‘culture of fear’ and they rationalize the need for excess security because they believe they are a target, how is the consumption of those security services conspicuous? Citing the ethnographic data that some people uses these forms to articulate a specific aesthetic does not negate the subscription to the rational behind the acquisition of these material. it demonstrates the adaptability and extension of these items, items of security, to one’s personality identity. incorporation through consumption, incorporating it into the fabric of their lived experience. neo-liberal technologies might facilitate and mediate the possibility to acquire these forms, but IT DOES NOT DETERMINE THEM.
also, aren’t the dichotomies of clean/polluted and staying away from sources of pollution something already culturally viable within Muslim countries before the introduction of neo-liberal discursive practices? The forms of segeration of the clean/dirty and the need to remove and separate from the dirty and be clean (a pact of differentiation) of it, aren’t these practices, meanings, and political relationships already performed when one enter a mosque?
And, shouldn’t anthropologists from the orient not use occident terms? classit, conspicuous consumption, why is she NOT expressing the indigenous phenomenon she witness in indigenous informed descriptions?
Comment from: Faysal
Safaa’s thesis is very well articulated. It has very rich ethnographic data. I learnt much from this well written thesis. Safaa Marafi’s thesis is one of the best theses written in the context of Egypt that highlights an important phenomenon in the greater city of Cairo. I enjoyed reading her pioneer thesis. Thank you Lorenz for writing a post about this thesis.
@Faysal: Glad to hear that!
@none that matters: A blog post can never be accurate enough to convey all the details of a thesis with more that one-hundred pages. This is one of the central dilemmas for science bloggers and journalists. I recommend you to take a look at the thesis yourself.
It is possible to look at neoliberalism in many ways. Seen from anthropological perspective, it is much more than “market technologies". Fieldwork reveals how neoliberal policies in the Egyptian context are changing the life on the ground, leading to huge inequalities. Mubarak’s neoliberalistic policies played a significant role in the Egyptian revolution. Several activists and researchers pointed out that it was a revolution against authoritarianism and neoliberalism at the same time (see also links in the post).
I’ve forwarded your comment to the author of the thesis, Safaa Marafi. I hope she will have time to answer it.
Regarding your last point, I have a very short answer: we live in one world.
Comment from: Rose
Thanks Lorenz for posting this topic. It is indeed a phenomenon in suburb of Cairo. Safaa’s thesis is enlightening. Good choice of topic. Each chapter brings vital issues with various important details that i wonder how she was able to collect all of these sources. the theoretical part is strong. She is well integrating stories, observations and analysis. Safaa presented well concepts draw my attention: the other, wilad nas, moral panic, khawaga complex>
Comment from: iblankm
Very interesting and timely topic. I’m fascinated by the perspective that gated communities imprison themselves in a way that is detrimental to them, not only to the poorer classes on the outside.
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