Heba Elsayed

Supervisor: Myria Georgiou

Topic: A cross class comparison of classed cosmopolitan imaginings in Cairo

I am currently in the final writing up stages of my PhD. My thesis, comparing three different classes in Cairo, examines the construction of young Egyptians' cosmopolitan identities at the juxtaposition of a socially divided urban world where they occupy a highly mediated everyday life.

Drawing from a nine month ethnographic study, my thesis argues that for each different class, media and urban life in their interrelation construct a distinct kind of cosmopolitan imagination. Thus, I explore how common media products provide a joint window onto an interconnected world and a route to articulating a cosmopolitan cultural identity. With Cairo as its focus, therefore, this paper attempts to further an understanding of lived cosmopolitanism as a pervasive, yet mediated reality of everyday lives outside the west.

Since completing my MA dissertation in 2007, I have developed a strong interest in researching media and identity amongst young Egyptians. Being a British Egyptian living in the UK all my life, I have only been a distant voyeur, never part of, yet always scrutinizing Egyptian youth cultures from afar. Thus, I developed a passion for exploring the mysterious, yet highly hybridized worlds of these young people.

As the recent revolution in Cairo has shown the world, the experiences of these youth have long been misunderstood and their voices repressively silenced. I hope my thesis is a small contribution towards understanding the thoughts, dreams and aspirations of these brave young people.

Email: h.elsayed@lse.ac.uk