Scientific Committee: Yasmine Ahmed Moataz, Florian Bonnefoi, Nada El-Kouny, Saker ElNour, Vanessa Lehmann, Idunn Lüllau Holthe, Mohammed Mohieddin, Reem Saad, Salwa Salman, Kawkab Tawfiq, Marie Vannetzel.
Organization: Florian Bonnefoi, Idunn Lüllau Holthe, Marie Vannetzel.
Organized by the Egyclass network and the CEDEJ.
The main objective of this conference on “Rural worlds and social classes in Egypt” is to rethink social stratification and class relations in the context of diverse ruralities in Egypt. How can we grasp and trace the dynamics of changing social life in rural and semi-rural areas? As part oft he Egyclass network, this conference seeks to bring together researchers working on various topics, here with a particular emphasis on the continued relevance of class in rural settings.
Despite the rapid urbanization across Egypt, the majority of the Egyptian population still live in the countryside or in towns considered rural. Far from being a homogeneous block, Egyptian rurality reflects a geographical, economic and social diversity, from Nubia and Upper Egypt (Hopkins and Saad, 2004; Reynolds, 2017) to the Delta (Fanchette, 1997; Hafez, ongoing; Pagès-El Karoui, 2008), along the country’s shorelines, and on desert land (Altorkiand Cole, 1989; Lehmann, ongoing).
Defining rurality, the village, as well as rural dwellers, is a long-standing subject of debate within the field of agrarian and rural studies in countries of the Global South. In the case of Egypt, there is the added challenge in that the city status is assigned administratively, thus often obscuring the realities on the ground (Saad, 1996). As lifestyles become increasingly mobile and the circulation of people, goods and ideas intensifies at all scales, rural-urban linkages need to be investigated and questioned, along with the implications of such transformations on social classes and other forms of stratification. This conference is echoing calls to decentralize the gaze from Cairo (Carminati and Gamal-Eldin, 2021), and proposes to approach social classes from the provinces (Colonna, 2004), from the margins and peripheries, which sometimes become new centralities. It examines the dynamics specific to these areas as well as their relationship to urban centers.
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