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Title: Spaces of power : politics, subjectivity and materiality in post-independence Cairo
Author: Nassar, Aya
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 0084
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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How does the city become implicated in the political ordering of the postcolonial state? This thesis explores the relationship between spatial and political ordering in postindependence Egypt through a study of Cairo's urban planning and architecture. It challenges a prevalent conception of the city as a passive, concrete space with a linear history. Instead, it argues that city space should be taken seriously as a site of the political. This requires reflection on its materiality, poetics, and indeterminacies, as well as an explicitly subjective mode of writing about city space and selfhood. Looking at Egyptian postcolonial politics through the prism of city space challenges us to think about sovereignty as a process of ordering that works through a series of incomplete attempts to fix, repair, and modernise city space and its subjects. The thesis builds on material geography, narrative politics and postcolonial studies. Methodologically, it utilises incomplete archives and memoires of Egyptian architects and engineers, unrealised masterplans and the materiality of the city itself: concrete, soil, water, fire and dust. It investigates changes in Cairo after national independence and until Sadat's assassination (1952-1981). It begins by focusing on the capital city's spatial significance for postcolonial politics, then analyses articulations of postcolonial subjectivity that are intertwined with space. This is further developed through analysis of attempts at constructing national symbolic order, as well as the deployment of a politics of circulation to fix (dis)order in the city. The thesis has broad implications by demonstrating a subjective academic mode of writing about the politics of space that is guided by space's materiality. It spatialises power and subjectivity in order to de-stabilise prevailing concrete and linear constructions of sovereignty. Further, it represents an original examination of the spatial politics of Cairo following independence, which contributes to knowledge about cities in the Middle East, and their place in a wider politics of the postcolonial state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies Ltd ; British International Studies Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; JA Political science (General) ; JQ Political institutions (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)