Shopping Malls, Consumer Culture and the Reshaping of Public Space in Egypt

Author(s): Abaza, Mona

About this Entry
Abstract Egypt witnessed in the last decade, as in many Southeast Asian mega-cities, the reshaping of public space through the creation of new shopping malls and recreation places. This went hand in hand with the `gentrification' of certain areas of the city of Cairo, which is continuing at the expense of pushing away the poor. The 1980s and 1990s also witnessed increasing prosperity among certain classes and the appropriation of new consumer lifestyles. This article attempts to look at the variations of shopping malls in Cairo and the new phenomenon of hybridization of tastes. One can observe the creation of `chic' shopping malls functioning parallel to popular and working-class malls which are frequented by different classes, depending on the various districts of Cairo. These newly created public spaces are gendered. The malls provide new outlets for deprived youth to experience mingling and flirting, in other words, these spaces offer new forms of `mixity' between sexes. A glimpse at the ` grands magasins ' is brought up in relation to the history of consumerism in Egypt. This article also analyses the government's official discourse which alienates those living in unplanned and scattered construction as `violent' and unruly and relates it to the new remaking of the town of Cairo.
Publication Title Theory, Culture & Society
Publisher SAGE Publications
Publication Date 10/2001
Keywords Cairo, Egypt
Consumer behavior
International economic relations
Popular Culture
Public Space
Public spaces
Shopping centers
Social aspects
Social relations
Social space
Urban Renewal
Urban development
Urban sociology
Urban space
coffee houses
folklorization of culture
gendered spaces
grands magasins
youth and gender
View Raw JSON