Whose Cairo?

Nezar Alsayyad

in Cairo Cosmopolitan

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162893
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970269 | DOI:
Whose Cairo?

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As this book has indicated there are many Cairos, and many other Cairos in metropolitan Cairo itself. The book has strived to deconstruct the two most popular myths about Cairo; as a tomb city, a dead or hyper-passive entity more like an open-air museum of monuments occupied by a population of quiescent serfs; and the city as a bomb, an entity of grave contradictions that harbors the explosive “Arab street” that will detonate at any moment. The book has rightfully offered various and contradictory answers to this question. However, its main contribution lies not in falsifying that proposition but in questioning the meaning of “cosmopolitan” in the global south. While some may argue that there is a world of difference between the “true” cosmopolitanism of a First World city like London and the “apparent” cosmopolitanism of Cairo, the book has attempted to reverse this assertion.

Keywords: Cairo; myths; tomb city; Arab street; cosmopolitanism

Chapter.  1592 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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