Struggles of Distinction: Young Women Constructing Their Class Identity in Egypt’s Americanized Milieu

In urban Egypt, class is omnipresent in structuring people's lives and the social sphere as well as being operative in selfdescription. For understanding an individual's position within the horizontally and vertically stratified society, however, the usual distinction of three classes need...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Middle East - Topics & Arguments
Main Author: Birkholz, Sina
Format: Journal Articles
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2014
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Summary:In urban Egypt, class is omnipresent in structuring people's lives and the social sphere as well as being operative in selfdescription. For understanding an individual's position within the horizontally and vertically stratified society, however, the usual distinction of three classes needs to be refined. Based on biographical interviews, I reconstruct what my interviewees consider their "Americanized Society" and try to grasp their self-categorization as upper middle class. In line with much of Bourdieu's thinking on social stratification, I treat their self-positioning as upper middle class as a form of discursive categorization which can only be understood if contextualized by the negative image of "the poor" and "the rich." The Americanized Society, on the other hand, can best be conceptualized as a milieu where different classificatory principles intersect.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/meta.2014.2.1318