‘Between hopelessness and ambivalence’: young Egyptians, secondary schooling and the Arab Spring in urban Cairo

Fadil, Mamdouh Kamal Hakim (2014) ‘Between hopelessness and ambivalence’: young Egyptians, secondary schooling and the Arab Spring in urban Cairo. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis is based upon ethnographic fieldwork carried out in and around three secondary schools and Tahrir Square in urban Cairo between October 2009 and December 2011. It explores the lives of young Egyptians at the time of their secondary schooling and the Arab spring through examining the contradictions and ambivalence of the coming of age for middle class young people inside the school and in the wider everyday life in urban Cairo. This thesis seeks to understand, by examining the social theory on the tension between structure and agency, the way through which disciplinarian interventions enable youth’s articulation of critical dispositions and forms of resistance.

This thesis, whilst it embarks by looking at the deterioration of the formal schooling system in Egypt after thirty years under Mubarak’s rule, examines the extent to which the everyday educational studentship circumstances had constrained the sorts of subjects that Egyptian youth could become and which would constitute them as young and educated in contemporary Egypt. Whilst education, in its broader meaning, emerged as being undeniably crucial for young Egyptians’ project for social mobility, secondary schools are presented not as venues for socialisation or reproduction of inequalities but rather as an ambivalent and contradictory resource.

The young Egyptians who were the subjects of this thesis negotiated meritocratic aspirations at the intersections of their transversal educational circumstances, and the norms of patriarchy and subordination of their wider everyday life. The forms of exclusion and tension about the future have affected young Egyptians’ articulation of their critical dispositions of hopelessness and ambivalence. Their engagement in the Tahrir riots and occupational actions and demanding their right to the city, manifested their emerging political consciousness and capacity to produce new spatial meanings and practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN406 Cultural traits, customs, and institutions > GN451 Intellectual life Including communication, recreation, philosophy, religion, knowledge, etc.
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 12:05
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2017 09:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51648

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