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Made In Egypt: Gendered Identity and Aspiration on the Globalised Shop Floor

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Made In Egypt

Gendered Identity and Aspiration on the Globalised Shop Floor

Leila Zaki Chakravarti

274 pages, 28 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-077-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-511-4 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (August 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-078-0 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®



“Overall, Made in Egypt reveals a world of industrial labour that has seldom been explored in a city that has rarely been covered in the ethnography of Egypt, which has been dominated by works on Cairo in recent years. The monograph will speak to all students and researchers with an interest in the sociology and anthropology of industrial work, in addition to being an invaluable contribution to the literature on gender and labour in Egypt.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Made in Egypt presents a rigorous, accessible, and insightful ethnography that brings life to the factory floor.” • Gender & Society

“Chakravarti’s highly detailed, fascinating glimpse into gender dynamics within this patriarchal factory setting challenges essentialist notions of patriarchy and women’s position in public sector employment, highlighting the fact that meaning is not fixed. Chakravarti’s book would fit well into an undergraduate or graduate course in Women and Gender Studies, a graduate qualitative methods course in ethnography, or as “recommended reading” to illustrate some of the key theoretical advancements within the field of Middle East Women and Gender Studies that problematize essentialist notions of patriarchy and the inferior position in which it places women.” • Review of Middle East Studies

“The book is a valuable addition to the ethnography of Egypt in general and to gender stories in particular. It succeeds in describing the inner lives of men and women working in the firm and in charting their social and sexual agency and aspirations…[It] is well written and conveys the humanity of its characters.” • Anthropos

“This book makes a timely and significant contribution to the ethnographic literature on contemporary Egyptian factory workplace dynamics between management and workers, in which gender relations, class, power, control, resistance, and religious discourses intersect…” • Khaled Adham, UAE University


This ground-breaking ethnography of an export-orientated garment assembly factory in Egypt examines the dynamic relationships between its managers – emergent Mubarak-bizniz (business) elites who are caught in an intensely competitive globalized supply chain – and the local daily-life realities of their young, educated, and mixed-gender labour force. Constructions of power and resistance, as well as individual aspirations and identities, are explored through articulations of class, gender and religion in both management discourses and shop floor practices. Leila Chakravarti’s compelling study also moves beyond the confines of the factory, examining the interplay with the wider world around it.

Leila Zaki Chakravarti is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths (University of London) Dept of Anthropology. She has extensive fieldwork experience as a shop floor worker in an Egyptian garment assembly factory.

Subject: Gender Studies and Sexuality Anthropology (General) Sociology
Area: Middle East & Israel


Illustrations, Maps and Figures
A Note on Transliteration
Map of the Nile Delta

Chapter 1. The Factory as Crucible
      Port Said – The Nation’s ‘Dual Frontier’
      Space and Order: The Factory as Blueprint – and as Lived Experience
      Issues, Inspiration and Method
      Ordering and Animating the Ethnography

Chapter 2. Firm as Family – Control and Resistance
      Il-Kebir: The Role of the Proprietor-Patriarch
      Ikhlaas: Filial Loyalty and Sibling Rivalry
      Ihtiram: Performing Respectability
      Taraabut: Articulations of Community and Entitlement
      Entekhbo Qasim Fahmy! – The Workers Endorse their Kebir

Chapter 3. Shop Floor as Marketplace – Love and Consumption
      Sexualising the Workplace – The Struggle for Love
      ‘Love in a World Ruled by Money’ (Il-Hub fi Zaman Il-Felus)
      Hub Il-Shibak: Love Matches
      Commodifying the Shop Floor – Trading in Dreams
      Celebrating Dreams – A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Chapter 4. Daughters of the Factory – Discipline and Nurture
      Discipline as Performance
      Performing Efficiency
      Mishmish Alley Cats – Distinctive Femininities
      Nurturing and Performing Male Power

Chapter 5. Globalised Takeover – Performance and Resistance
      Refashioning the Labour Landscape
      Retrieving the Firm as Family
      The End of the Road?

Chapter 6. Domination and Resistance
      Globalisation and Localisation
      Co-Optation and Appropriation
      The Revolution that Wasn’t

Appendix: The Fashion Express Workforce

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