Mapping Egypt : examining the governmentality of World Bank development projects
Burnstein, Andrew Martin
May 15, 2020
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the World Bank funded development projects in Egypt that attempted to control Egyptians on increasingly intimate scales. This study, drawing on original research from the World Bank’s archives, analyzes these development projects through the theoretical lenses of Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and others to better understand how the World Bank used its governmentality to inculcate capitalism in the Egyptian populace. I use the metaphor of "mapping” throughout the thesis to show how the World Bank used the production of knowledge about Egypt to control it and "make it legible” to the World Bank parastate. I examine the World Bank’s push for liberalization, its activity in the Nile and Suez Canal, its creation of model villages, its funding of luxury hotels, and its support for the Egyptian "sweetmeats” industry to argue, borrowing a concept from Foucault, that there was a "downward line of governmentality” that attempted to influence Egyptians at every level of the body-politic. I conclude with contesting scholarship on the Arab Spring, arguing that in light of the hierarchy of neoliberal encroachments examined in this study, the horizontality of the revolution takes on a new significance and indicates a more radical political outlook than often acknowledged.
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