In recent years, social scientists have devoted increasing attention to understanding the causes and consequences of grassroots political mobilization and changing notions of citizenship. However, most of their research has been conducted in urban locations, often emphasizing the role played by the experience of urban living and access to global connections in fostering political engagement. The research supported by this award seeks to answer a complementary question: If urbanism and globalism are so important, why is it that rural communities also produce politically active citizens? It is an important question whose answer will help to better understand the functioning of participatory democracies throughout the world. To address this question, Rutgers University anthropology doctoral student, Nada El-Kouny, with the supervision of Dr. Becky Schulties, will undertake 12 months of multi-sited research in a rural hamlet and nearby town in Egypt, a country well-known for political activism and thus a particularly appropriate site for investigating these issues. The researcher will focus on infrastructure provisioning as a primary avenue through which rural areas are connected to often faraway government offices and officials. El-Kouny will use a mix of social science methods to gather data, including archival research to investigate the study hamlet's history and government interactions, such as road building projects, school construction, the coming of electricity, and improved access to water. She also will map hamlet social, kin, and mobility networks; conduct a hamlet census; and hold focus groups. In the town, she will interview key informants to learn more of the town's history. Findings from this research will improve understanding of citizenship and political activism of rural people through the lens of the mundane infrastructure through which politics is experienced in daily life. Findings will also be of interest to policy makers concerned to explain political mobilization wherever it may occur.
|Effective start/end date||8/15/16 → 1/31/18|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))