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Title:Lawyers of Egypt: class, precarity and politics
Author(s):Khalil, Hebatallah Mahmoud Abdelraouf
Director of Research:Bayat, Asef
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bayat, Asef
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dill, Brian; Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz; Marshall, Anna-Maria
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):lawyers, precarity, politics, mattering, class, legal profession
Abstract:This dissertation examines the rising precarity of Egyptian lawyers and its consequences on their politics. In making sense of lawyers’ complex class and status situation, now professionals living through subaltern lives, I trace the making of the profession to historical transformations since the 1950s. In particular, I expose critical junctures such as the unification of the legal system and the resulting diversification of the profession in the 1950s, the tripling of Law Schools and concurrent dismantling of the welfare state in the 1980s, and the mounting state infiltration of the Lawyers’ Syndicate in response to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood within its ranks in the 1990s. In so doing, I situate the making of contemporary lawyers within the context of a deteriorating law school that reproduces legal professionals with little cultural and economic capital, but simultaneously socializes them into the fantasies of the past grandeur of their profession. Based on eighteen months of ethnographic research, I elucidate lawyers’ precarity as embodied in a life lived in relation to the imagined past of an elite and radical profession. This experience of broken trajectories produces unsettled bodies, quivering in the gaps between their past and present, and their aspirations and frustrations, while seeking to assert their relevance and challenge their life situation. The logics of their precarity thus produces a politics of mattering that enables and structures diverse and often contradictory political possibilities. Lawyers’ complex class situation and logics of mattering enable them to broker street- and courtroom politics and mediate the relationship of the subaltern with national elites, while asserting their significance in society.
Issue Date:2021-07-13
Rights Information:© 2021 Hebtallah Mahmoud Abdelraouf Khalil
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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