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Farha Ghannam gave a talk titled “The Gender of Class: Taste and Social Inequalities in Urban Egypt” in our visiting seminar on December 15th, 2017.
This talk is part of a larger project that aims to highlight the importance of looking at the inseparability of gender and class in daily life and shows why we should always study them in relation to each other. Drawing on ethnographic research in a low-income neighborhood in northern Cairo and informed by theories of practice, new materialism, and rhythmanalysis (a concept developed by Henri Lefebvre), this presentation looks at one example, the balcony, an important space that mediates the inside and outside, the private and the public, the interior and exterior. This space of in-betweens comes in different shapes and sizes and affords the residents of Cairo not only a functional space but also a socio-cultural medium that materializes various inequalities and tastes. This in-betweens generates a sense of doubleness: The balcony could be the object of our analysis, a space that embodies and circulates meanings as well as a location, a site that offers us insights and enables us to grasp the dynamic nature of urban life.