Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationChicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9545
Approve DateOctober 11, 2017
Project TitleKhalil, Mennatallah M., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Marshalling National Imagination: Military Authority in Post-2011 Revolution Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco
In the name of ‘the people and the army are one hand,’ military intervention in everyday civilian life has become increasingly normalized in response to conditions of national unrest in Egypt since the 2011 revolution, diagnosed by many security experts and policy makers as the ‘Egyptian crisis.’ This project proposes an ethnographic study that investigates the ways in which military authority plays a fundamental role in everyday social life, and its implications for collective imaginations of Egypt’s post-revolution future. The current military regime legitimizes its dominance by claiming to have expert knowledge and utmost competence in ensuring economic stability and national security through the management of various social networks. The project will examine military personnel’s daily practices and encounters within key social networks like food co-ops, schools, and sports clubs, where intervention in civilian life is most concentrated. Through participant observation and interviews, I will investigate the ways personnel invoke social service and care in relation to their institutional military duties. The goal of this project is to illuminate 1) the ways military actors and experts marshal knowledges, networks, and experiences of civilian life in order to negotiate political legitimacy and the social contract in times of crisis and uncertainty, 2) the changes in military-civilian relations with crisis as a normalized social condition of our time, and 3) how such changes (re)constitute the imaginaries and ethics guiding civilians’ social and political futures. Thus, resurgence of military authority as a sovereign power in Egypt provides a compelling case to illuminate how militarization becomes the ground for contestation about civilians’ relationship to their political life in our contemporary world.