Policing <i>Mulids</i> and Their Meaning<sup>1</sup>

Diane Singerman

in Cairo Contested

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162886
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970351 | DOI:
Policing Mulids and Their Meaning1

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This chapter examines the dynamics between disorder, chaos, and the control of public space, which describes the transformation of the government's relationship to, and policies toward, the very popular mulids, or saints' festivals, which are held annually in Cairo and other areas of Egypt. It also discusses how, in order to represent the power of the state in public spaces and civilize “festivity” projects of “beautification” (tagmil) and “development” (tatwir) are undertaken around almost all major pilgrimage sites in Egypt by the ministries of Awqaf and of Housing and Urban Development, as well as by the Cairo governorate. Mulids are among the few occasions when subaltern classes can exert a power of definition over the city. In July 2009, while this book was going to press, the governor of Cairo issued a ban on all mulid festivals in the Egyptian capital.

Keywords: mulids; Cairo; disorder; chaos; public space; government; tagmil; tatwir; festivity

Chapter.  9499 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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