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An Analysis of Urban Initiatives in Cairo: Locality, Everyday Politics and Relational Space in Cairo’s Unplanned Neighbourhoods

In: Studi Magrebini
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  • 1 Independent researcher, PhD at University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
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Abstract

This article focuses on urban activism and social movements that emerged in Cairo between 2011 and 2014 and argues that in unplanned areas these initiatives shape patterns of agency and social encounter. This contribution therefore investigates the transformative potential activated by the encounters between women of different social background in a small association (ǧamā‘iyya) in the unplanned area of Ezbet al-Haggana, in the north-east periphery of Cairo. Through analytical categories such as the “everyday politics”, “informality”, “relational space” and “capacity to aspire”, the article analyses how the everyday interactions, even within apparently non-politicized actions, reveal features of social change and mobility. The materials presented have been collected during a three-year research period conducted between 2012 and 2015. The fieldwork included 10 semi-structured interviews with local activists and institutional actors as well as an ethnographic account, which will be reported in the text.

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