Connected in Cairo

Connected in Cairo

Growing up Cosmopolitan in the Modern Middle East
Mark Allen Peterson
Distribution: Egypt, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran (Islamic Rep.), Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwa
Publication date: 05/06/2011
Format: Paperback 7 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22311-1
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For members of Cairo’s upper classes, cosmopolitanism is a form of social capital, deployed whenever they acquire or consume transnational commodities, or goods that are linked in the popular imagination to other, more "modern" places. In a series of thickly described and carefully contextualized case studies—of Arabic children’s magazines, Pokémon, private schools and popular films, coffee shops and fast-food restaurants—Mark Allen Peterson describes the social practices that create class identities. He traces these processes from childhood into adulthood, examining how taste and style intersect with a changing educational system and economic liberalization. Peterson reveals how uneasy many cosmopolitan Cairenes are with their new global identities, and describes their efforts to root themselves in the local through religious, nationalist, or linguistic practices.

Author Bio

Mark Allen Peterson is Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Miami University. He is author of Anthropology and Mass Communication: Media and Myth in the New Millennium and co-author of International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues.


“Excellent . . . original . . . sophisticated.”
 — Christa Salamandra, City University of New York

“A beautifully nuanced account of the interpenetrations of global and local media practices, other consumption practices, and the people for whom they are relevant. . . . A model for the use of ethnographic work for understanding how and why media practices have the impact they do on the lives of their consumers, producers and critics. It is a very smart and sophisticated book.”
 — Bambi B. Schieffelin, New York University

“Offers a strong contribution to the anthropology of the Middle East, global studies, political economy of neoliberalism, and to scholarship on urban life and class and gender relations in the contemporary Global South. . . . [A] wonderful teaching tool.”
 — Paul Amar, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration
1. Toward an Anthropology of Connections
2. Making Kids Modern: Agency and Identity in Arabic Children's Magazines
3. Pokémon Panics: Class Play in the Private Schools
4. Talk Like an Egyptian: Negotiating Identity at the American University in Cairo
5. Coffee Shops and Gender in Translocal Spaces
6. The Global and the Multilocal: Development, Enterprise, and Culture Brokers
Dramatis Personae

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