Gaiser, Lars

Leben und Handeln im Alltag von Kairo

Sozialwissenschaftliche Analysen einer Gesellschaft im Umbruch

17.0 x 24.0 cm, 604 p., 22 tables b/w, 34 illustrations b/w, hardback
148,00 €

ISBN: 9783895008368
Table of Contents

Short Description

Under the influence of political and social discourses as a result of 9/11 and the Orientalist allegations on the part of Arab intellectuals, Lars Gaiser developed a new action-oriented approach, which he has tested in four everyday situations: ‘enabling formation,’ ‘sharing neighbourhood,’ ‘obtaining housing’ and ‘giving living space.’ By analysing all possible options, which are derived from these everyday situations, and by using numerous case studies, he provides a deep insight into the largely divergent social conditions in Cairo which contributed to the mass uprisings.


Under the influence of political and social discourses as a result of 9/11 and the critique of Orientalism on the part of Arab intellectuals such as Edward Said, Lars Gaiser developed a new research approach: instead of the usual examination of singular problems, which are prone to distortion by a unilateral choice of research subjects, he analysed the spectrum of possible actions, which he derived from everyday situations. Through the interplay of mutually complementary assemblages (consisting of inter-view quotes, observation reports and statements from an emic perspective) and etic analysis (data from the statistics and literature), he gives the reader a multi-faceted and yet very profound insight in the social relations in Cairo. The ‘action-spectral research approach’, which is briefly presented here, was successfully put into practice in four everyday situations, namely the ‘enabling formation,’ ‘sharing neighbourhood,’ ‘obtaining housing’ and ‘giving living space.’ In his analysis of the Egyptian educational system, he compares the religious (Azharite), public and secular private schools, identifying many glaring deficiencies in state schools, such as overcrowded classrooms, underpaid and under-motivated teachers and inadequate teaching methods. Lars Gaiser demonstrates the duality of the religious schools, which are torn between the claims of dogma and the needs of the labour market. Another central topic of this chapter is the extensive private tutoring system – devouring up to a quarter of the average family income. In the everyday situation of ‘sharing living space,’ he deals with the survival strategies of the underprivileged classes (such as squatting, vagrancy and informal settlements) as well as the typical tactics of the wealthy Egyptians; he reveals, for example, what tricks the owners operate both legally and illegally to maximize profits. Other topics of the dissertation include the hurdles in the way to getting married, monastic life, living on Cairo rooftops and the housing of extended families. The numerous injustices highlighted in the book enable us to realise the resentment that has been a significant cause of the Arab Spring.


“The thesis of Mr. Gaiser allows [...] a deep insight into the actions of an urban society in the Arab world. Using his newly developed epistemological concept, he succeeds in an excellent way to document the lives and practices in this society not only [scientifically] accurate but also vivid and thus very understandable.”
Prof. Dr. Horst Kopp, Arab Geographer and supervisor of Dr. Gaiser’s theses

“The factually logical structured methodology design helped him to penetrate [...] deeply into the theme. His implementation in three steps – records of everyday life actions (case studies), categorisation and analysis – is a pleasure. He deliberates the results of the singular arbitrariness and protects them from an over-exaggerated subjectivism. He created a complex but nonetheless clear picture comprising many individual insights into people's lives.”
Prof. Dr. Rainer Uphues, Chair of Didactics of Geography, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

“Dr. Gaiser draws his knowledge from his extraordinary in situ knowledge built up over many years, his erudition (his multilingual skills allow him to read books written by authors from different cultural backgrounds) and from his well-founded multi-disciplinary studies in Germany and Egypt.”
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abu Hattab, founding dean of the Alsun Faculty in Al-Minya University (Upper Egypt)

Biographical Note

Dr. Lars Gaiser hat an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Geographie, Politische Wissenschaften und Orientalistik im Rahmen des Studienschwerpunktes Moderner Vorderer Orient studiert. Seine theoretischen Kenntnisse über die Arabische Welt konnte er um praktische Erfahrungen während mehrerer Studienreisen und Feldforschungsaufenthalte erweitern. Er hat insgesamt sieben Jahre in Ägypten gelebt und dort mehrere Projekte verwirklicht: Sowohl die hier vorliegende Dissertation als auch seine Magisterarbeit beruhen auf mehrjährigen Feldstudien. Bei deren Durchführung kam ihm seine Beschäftigung mit den Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, einem weiteren Arbeitsschwerpunkt, zugute. Er verfügt über Lehrerfahrung sowohl am Gymnasium als auch an der Universität und konnte dank seiner Arabischkenntnisse alle im Rahmen der Promotionsfeldstudie realisierten Interviews eigenständig führen.


Alltagskultur (13) || Cairo (6) || Cultural & media studies (303) || Cultural studies (285) || Education (22) || Educational strategies & policy (2) || Educational systems & structures || Egypt (242) || History (834) || History: specific events & topics (289) || Housing & homelessness || Kulturwissenschaft (45) || Nile Valley and Delta (4) || North Africa (247) || Poverty & precarity || Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions (3) || Social & ethical issues (23) || Social classes (8) || Social groups (55) || Society & culture: general (408) || Sociology & anthropology (108) || Urban communities (30)