Egyptianizing Modernity through the ‘New <i>Effendiya</i>’

Lucie Ryzova

in Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9789774249006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971006 | DOI:
Egyptianizing Modernity through the ‘New Effendiya’

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This chapter begins with the investigation of the 1930s–40s new effendiya phenomenon, often portrayed as a newly urbanized and educated middle class, with more traditional approaches to religion and cultural identity. Shedding empirical light on this rising group, this chapter demonstrates that while not an economic middle class, the new effendiya comprised an emerging public of educated young men from modest backgrounds, who viewed modernity through a Muslim and Arab lens. Just as important, however, they saw themselves as distinct from both the traditionalists and the westernized upper classes. In defining themselves in this way, they promoted new understandings of Egypt as a national community. Highlighting a specifically Egyptian modernity “from below,” this chapter puts into sharp relief the social foundations of post-revolutionary Egypt. It thus engages in a fruitful critical dialogue with other emergent literature of the past decade.

Keywords: effendiya phenomenon; economic middle class; westernized upper classes; national community; social foundations; post-revolutionary Egypt

Chapter.  20277 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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