This book consists of a collage of images that attempts to convey the transformation of consumer culture and how it is related to the urban reshaping of the city of Cairo to meet with the demands of globalisation. Analyzing the shift from socialist economy to the opening up of Egypt’s economy, and how this has affected everyday life of the middle classes, the author touches on various themes such as the general changing lifestyles and conspicuous consumption, the spread of mobile phones, and coffee shops, the gated communities and secondary resorts. The “folklorisation of culture” through the flowering tourist industry, the expansion of local crafts, plastic surgery and the body as a site of consumption are all analysed. Although being influenced by the discourse of the Frankfurt school on the culture industry, this work attempts to highlight the paradoxes pertaining to the democratising effects of consumer culture without denying the growing flagrant class polarisation.
Mona Abaza, Ph.D (1990) in sociology, University of Bielefeld, teaches currently at the American University in Cairo. Her research interests are religious and cultural networks between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the Hadhrami diaspora in Southeast Asia and Consumer culture in Egypt.
"This welcome addition to the dearth of Middle Eastern consumption studies is provocative, thoughtful, and filled with beautiful photographs, illustrations, and advertisements." – in:
CHOICE, June 2007
Sociologists, historians, Middle East specialists, cultural studies specialists and all those who are nterested in integrating visual art with sociological investigation.