” We buy everything “
edited by Yahia Shawkat and Shehab Ismail, published by Dar El-Maraya, 2022.
Hosted by Network of Urban Studies in Egypt (NUSE).
Date/time: Thursday June 30th 2022, 2pm Via Zoom
Speakers: Yahia Shawkat, Shehab Ismail, Ahmed Zaazaa, Deena Khalil
“We buy everything” is a phrase that has been displayed on banners throughout Egypt’s streets, and below the phrase is a phone number to contact the advertiser. Behind all of these advertisements lies the massive used goods industry, known locally as “robabekia”, which has its well-known mega-markets such as the Friday Market. However, the reference to “everything” in the context of this edited volume is used in an ironic sense, while raising the question: Can everything truly be bought?
It is from this starting point that the book delves into an analysis of the social, economic, and political transformations that have been taking place within Cairo’s housing and built environment from the late nineteenth century until today. These transformations are explained through a set of case-studies on the processes of building, buying, selling, and renting housing, as well as the changing methods of providing drinking water services, and the governance of public spaces. These studies are based on legislative, theoretical, and historical analyses, as well as eyewitness accounts of these transformations.