Captive Consumers? Shopping, Urban Space, and the Colonial Politics of Middle East Consumption

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, Bunche Hall Meeting Room - 10383

Nancy Reynolds, Washington University in St. Louis

See below for additional information.


Free and open to the public.


UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
(310) 825-1181


Additional Information

Consumer goods occupied an uneasy place on anti-colonial agendas in Egypt for much of the first half of the twentieth century. Nationalist leaders derided commerce as a form of captivity.

Merchants, many leaders claimed, siphoned local capital from industry to consumption, thus slowing national economic development and transforming colonial subjects into passive vectors for the appropriation of wealth by metropolitan states and merchants.

At the same time, nationalists advocated the consumption of locally produced goods in an effort to secure popular allegiance and to remake Egypt into what they considered a modern, rational society that could command legitimacy in the eyes of Europe.

Close examination of struggles over consumption and commerce demonstrate, however, a much more informal process through which the material vocabulary of nationhood formed, one that grew from the conflicts and collaboration of consumers “from below” as well as more institutional and prescript

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