Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt
What does it mean to be marginalized? Is it a passive condition that the disadvantaged simply have to endure? Or is it a manufactured label, reproduced and by its nature transitory?
In the wake of the new uprising in Egypt, this insightful collection explores issues of power, politics and inequality in Egypt and the Middle East. It argues that the notion of marginality tends to mask the true power relations that perpetuate poverty and exclusion. It is these dynamic processes of political and economic transformation that need explanation.
The book provides a revealing analysis of key areas of Egyptian political economy, such as labour, urbanization and the creation of slums, disability, refugees, street children, and agrarian livelihoods, reaching the impactful conclusion that marginalization does not mean total exclusion. What is marginalized can be called upon to play a dynamic part in the future -- as is the case with the revolution that toppled President Mubarak.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The contributors to this book effectively challenge the category of marginality as it is commonly used and show that "marginal" people and groups are actively created by the processes of neoliberal capitalism in which they have no role or value. At the same time, "marginals" do not acquiesce to their fate but find creative ways to exercise agency in dealing with their situations. Some contributors argue for the utility of a revised notion of marginality; others argue for increased attention to class and exploitation. This lively debate is a valuable contribution to understanding the underside of the neoliberal phase of capitalism in Egypt.'
Joel beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University, California
'This fascinating collection captures the rhythms of real life for the majority of Egyptians. Along with analytical heft, it features portraits of everyday abjection, struggle and adaptation that ring searingly true. Required reading for serious students of Egypt.'
Chris Toensing, Middle East Research and Information Project
'This exciting book provides superb background to an understanding of the Egyptian "revolution" of 2011 and continuing. It provides fresh data on topics that are not generally covered in the press. The essays in this book are essential to understanding Egypt, both the expected and the unexpected.'
Nicholas Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, The American University in Cairo
'I cannot imagine a more relevant collection of revealing snapshots of Egyptian society in the lead-up to the ousting of Mubarak. This excellent book not only offers an insightful reading of the conditions which led to the struggle of the Egyptian people against a devastating neoliberal economic system but also provides a solid contribution, which is grounded in class analysis and an experience of collective resistance, to our understanding of concepts of marginality and exclusion.'
Maha Abdelrahman, University of Cambridge