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Avenues of Participation Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo

ISBN-10: 0691025681
ISBN-13: 9780691025681
Edition: 1995
Authors: Diane Singerman
List price: $55.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $55.00
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 8/11/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 358
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144

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 thesha'b(or popular classes) in Cairo, Diane Singerman shows how menandwomen 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 Participationtraces 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.

DIANE SINGERMAN is Associate Professor in the Department of Government, School of Public Affairs, at the American University. She is the author of Avenues of Participation: Families, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo. HOMA HOODFAR is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal. She has carried out research on the impact of development and social change on the lives of Muslim women in Cairo, Teheran, and Montreal.

List of Tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration
Introduction
Egypt and Popular Political Expression
The Context and Approach of the Study
The Family, Politics, and the Familial Ethos
The Public/Private Dichotomy and Political Participation
Patrimonialism, the Family, and Participation in a Middle Eastern Context
The Familial Ethos
Conclusion: An Ethos beyond the Household
Reproducing the Family
Choosing a Mate: "Shababiik, shababiik, id-dunya kullaha shababiik"
Marriage Protocol, or the Rules of Engagement
Sexuality and the Transgression of Public Norms
The Cost of Marriage: An Economic Nightmare
Raising the Capital to Marry
Conclusions: Marriage, the Economy, and the State
Networks: The Political Lifeline of Community
Earning a Living
Development: Education Networks
The Bureaucracy and the State
Informality: Politics and Economics in Tandem
Informal and Formal Economic Activity in a Shabi Community
Family Enterprises
Informality Meets the State
The Shab and Informality: Wages and Wealth
Informality: The Economic and Political Consequences for the Nation
Politics as Distribution
Private Voluntary Organizations: A Mediated Distribution Point
Elite Politics, the State, and the Shab
Conclusions
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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