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Title: Assembling Egypt's business-state relations : cosmopolitan capital and international networks of exclusion, 2003-2016
Author: Smierciak, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6493 8313
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This dissertation argues that conventional analysis of business-state relations fails to capture the nuances of networks shaping Egypt's neoliberal reform experience. Instead, it posits that both the 'business-state' and 'domestic-international' divides should be reconsidered - with categories better understood based on the nature of individuals' socio-economic capital (Bourdieu 1986). I argue that only by using such a framework can we make visible insidious forms of resource capture and economic exclusion. On the macro-level, this dissertation tells a story of elite resource capture that occurred alongside Egypt's experience of economic liberalization. While particular attention is paid to reforms of the 2000s, I also trace developments to roots laid by international partnerships and platforms established during the first IMF-led reform project of the Mubarak era in the 1990s. On the micro-level, this is a story of some of the central networks of 'globalizers' (Springborg and Henry 2010) - or individuals who rose to become chief mediators for internationally funded initiatives to empower Egypt's 'private sector.' I examine their ascent in the industrial policy-making space during the tenure of the first businessman cabinet member, Rashid Mohammed Rashid (2004-2011). I focus on the role of these networks in capturing the central 'business development' programs initiated alongside the reforms of the 2000s, which I argue served as platforms for accessing both immediate rent streams, as well as for shaping industrial policies to gain future rents. I then follow a handful of these individuals as they secure one highly controversial industrial policy: the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) trade agreement between Egypt, Israel and the US. In particular, I highlight the web of individuals and organizations mobilized in the process, providing close examination of the small cohort standing at the center of negotiations. I draw from targeted interviews and participant observation conducted over three years of fieldwork and triangulate findings with printed sources including corporate press releases, leaked US embassy cables and evaluations by international development organizations.
Supervisor: Armbrust, Walter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Economy ; Networks ; Egypt ; Neoliberal Reforms