Remaking selves and remaking public space : combating sexual harassment in Cairo post 2011
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This thesis focuses on the work of a social movement based in Cairo that dedicated itself to the addressing and reducing sexual harassment, or taḥarush in the streets. Based on a year and five months of fieldwork, this thesis elaborated upon the genesis of the movement, its ethos, and the methods it deployed to tackle taḥarush. It is argued that the movement deployed methods which encouraged members of Egyptian society to revisit and rework their ethical standpoints with reference to taḥarush, and as such public behaviour. In this way, members of Egyptian society were asked to become more aware of their roles within society itself. Firstly, such methods had to be tested by movement members themselves. The movement became known for two main activities: raising awareness and patrols. Both methods serve as ways by which the movement reshaped both people and the public spaces they occupied. Spaces are defined by the people who pass through them, and by acting on a given space, people can change how it is perceived. The movement designated itself a safe space, encouraging members to ponder ideas from society with the goal of changing society ‘for the better’. What my research revealed was that lack of consensus regarding definitions embedded in movement ethos contributed to conflict between members and discontinuity between ethos and its enactment. Government pressures required changes to the structure and internal functioning of the movement, and in addition to the initial ethical project regarding taḥarush, members found themselves learning to embody and perform roles associated with employed positions. The turmoil experienced both within in and outside of the movement is put back into the context of Egypt post 2011, to tease out the sense of temporality embedded in their struggle to survive the political climate of the time.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2028-04-17
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 17th April 2028
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