Experimenting with alternative futures in Cairo: young Muslim volunteers between God and the nation

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUtopian movements, enactments and subjectivities among youth in the global south : ethnographic perspectives
EditorsOscar Salemink, Susanne Bregnbæk, Dan Vesalainen Hirslund
PublisherRoutledge
Publication yearSep 2019
ISBN (print)9780367355029
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
SeriesSPIBs (Special Issues as Books)

Bibliographical note

This chapter investigates young middle-class Egyptians' engagement with the religious and national visions of Resala, Egypt's largest Muslim youth NGO, and how they come to rethink themselves existentially and politically through this commitment, in the context of the 2011 uprising and its aftermath. I show how their volunteering through Resala, shaped by specific socio-political circumstances, paved the way for personal hopes to develop into utopian aspirations. Demonstrating the dynamic relationship between the formation of political subjectivities and how utopias emerge, develop and are sometimes shattered, I argue that while utopic aspirations continue to characterise parts of Egypt's 2011 youth generation, for others, such aspirations have to give way for other more personal concerns to establish a secure adult life. Therefore, activism and experiments with societal alternatives in contexts like the Egyptian continue to depend on inclusive and less risky spaces for civic engagement outside formal politics and institutions.

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