Item Details

The Rise of the Egyptian Middle Class: Socio-Economic Mobility and Public Discontent From Nasser to Sadat

Relli Shechter (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Format
Book
Published
Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Language
English
ISBN
9781108474481, 1108474489
Summary
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Egypt experienced rapid economic growth- the result of a regional oil boom. Oddly, this economic growth hardly registered in Egyptian public discourse, which constantly claimed that the country was experiencing economic and socio-cultural crises. The present book sets out to investigate this discrepancy. It studies the unprecedented socio-economic mobility, the significant changes in the employment structure, and the spread of mass consumption by means of analyses of the statistical data and the ethnographic evidence. I argue that, during the oil boom, Egypt experienced a dramatic expansion of the middle class-now increasingly representing 'average' Egyptians. In addition to analyses of the empirical evidence, this book analyzes relevant, contemporary Egyptian public discourse by examining a wide cultural array that includes: academic writing, the press, cinema and literature. For the most part, the public discourse viewed this vast transformation from a negative perspective, commentators criticizing 'what went wrong' in Egypt. Such public discourse was by no means monolithic and, as such, reflected disagreements between the economic and political left, right and center, and between secularists and Islamists. However, Egyptian public discourse at that time did expose a broad coalition of discontent regarding the burgeoning changes in state/middle-class relations under the long-term social contract. The public discourse further exposed many social tensions that developed as a result of the widespread socio-economic mobility. My investigation focuses not only on the rapid formation of a broad middle class in Egypt, but also on the consensual Egyptian public discourse lamenting its ephemerality.
Contents
  • Working into the middle class
  • "Crisis of supply in every household"
  • "Provocative consumption"
  • "Parasites"
  • The resurgence of middle-class Islam
  • Conclusion: socio-economic mobility and discontent.
Description
xv, 269 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-259) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| During the 1970s and early 1980s, Egypt experienced rapid economic growth- the result of a regional oil boom. Oddly, this economic growth hardly registered in Egyptian public discourse, which constantly claimed that the country was experiencing economic and socio-cultural crises. The present book sets out to investigate this discrepancy. It studies the unprecedented socio-economic mobility, the significant changes in the employment structure, and the spread of mass consumption by means of analyses of the statistical data and the ethnographic evidence. I argue that, during the oil boom, Egypt experienced a dramatic expansion of the middle class-now increasingly representing 'average' Egyptians. In addition to analyses of the empirical evidence, this book analyzes relevant, contemporary Egyptian public discourse by examining a wide cultural array that includes: academic writing, the press, cinema and literature. For the most part, the public discourse viewed this vast transformation from a negative perspective, commentators criticizing 'what went wrong' in Egypt. Such public discourse was by no means monolithic and, as such, reflected disagreements between the economic and political left, right and center, and between secularists and Islamists. However, Egyptian public discourse at that time did expose a broad coalition of discontent regarding the burgeoning changes in state/middle-class relations under the long-term social contract. The public discourse further exposed many social tensions that developed as a result of the widespread socio-economic mobility. My investigation focuses not only on the rapid formation of a broad middle class in Egypt, but also on the consensual Egyptian public discourse lamenting its ephemerality.
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