Violence, Class and Masculinity in Egypt: Gendered Punishment in Cairene Schools

by Hania Sobhy (MPI-MMG)

Working Papers WP 20-03
March 2020
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

Gendered violence in schools remains understudied and poorly integrated in understandings of the changing pressures facing men and women in neoliberal, securitized and precarious global contexts. This paper draws on the findings of extensive research with young men and women in Egyptian schools catering to different social classes before and after the 2011 uprising. It shows how the rise in violent punishment in Egyptian public schools reflects modes of lived citizenship, where state-sanctioned violence is intimately structured into the everyday experience of the majority of less fortunate youth and in particular young males. It explains how harsh and humiliating punishment in schools is linked to the formal and informal privatization of education, the impoverishment of teachers and the disinvestment of the state in social services. As such, it is not restricted to a minority of marginalized schools as in other contexts. The paper underlines how sexual harassment, as a critical component of the everyday lived experience of female students, cannot be understood in separation from the different forms of violence circulating in schools. It suggests that change in these practices can be catalyzed by major political events like the 2011 uprising and the sense of empowerment and entitlement it generated among young people in particular.

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