Market Spaces: Merchants Battle the Economic Narratives of Development Experts

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:
Market Spaces: Merchants Battle the Economic Narratives of Development Experts

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This chapter investigates the Egyptian government's decision to relocate the wholesale fruit and vegetable market from Rod al-Farag to a “modern”, gleaming, new market seven times bigger and located more than twenty kilometers away, near Cairo's international airport. It is not only explains the neoliberal logic that was behind the market's ultimately violent closure, but it also reveals in stark detail the failure of neo-classical models to understand the workings of the Rod al-Farag market. It is very instructive for its appreciation of the social construction of knowledge and the ways in which abstract categories such as “the market” or the “the free market” are deployed to legitimize and implement neoliberal policies. In the summer and autumn of 1994, Cairo experienced tremendous price hikes for fruit and vegetables. Isolated changes in marketing infrastructure are hardly enough to dissolve existing power relations in real markets.

Keywords: Egyptian government; Rod al-Farag; Cairo; fruit and vegetable market; neoliberal policies; marketing infrastructure

Chapter.  8229 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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