Cover

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

The research for this book was supported by a doctoral-dissertation fellowship granted by the Population Council and by the support of the anthropology department at Johns Hopkins University. In Egypt, I also had institutional affiliation with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology at the American University in Cairo. I wish to thank the staff and faculty members of the department for including me in their ...

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. xiii-xiv

The transliterations in this text are primarily of the colloquial Arabic spoken in Cairo and the Delta. This is not a written language. Typically, in pronunciation the Arabic letter “quaf” becomes a “hamza” and the “jeem” becomes “geem,” pronounced with a “g” sound as in “goat.” This is not universal, as there are variations within the colloquial dialect. Other spoken words simply do not exist in modern standard Arabic.

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

This text discusses how development initiatives in general and family planning in particular help train and produce new bodies and selves in the wider context of capital expansion and accumulation as we enter the twenty-first century.2 I argue that family planning programs do not just reduce the number of children and regulate reproduction. Rather, they also introduce or foster notions of individual choice and responsibility, ...

Part One

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1. History of Family Planning

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pp. 23-39

In a work of fiction from late-nineteenth-century Egypt, the main protagonist is a writer who goes to the tombs outside Cairo for inspiration. One day he encounters an elderly noble who steps out from one of the graves. After a brief introduction the grave dweller asks the writer to go to his house and fetch him his horse and some clothes. The author respectfully replies that he does not know where the nobleman lives. ...

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2. Changing Behavior

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pp. 40-60

A promotional video on counseling techniques that is shown in Egyptian family planning clinics tel ls the story of Fatima. Fatima lives in a working-class neighborhood in a large city. She is shown to be frustrated by her daily chores and by the burden of caring for her children alone while her husband is away at work. One day a neighbor explains to her the benefits of family planning. The neighbor then accompanies Fatima to the clinic ...

Part Two

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3. Spatial Context

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pp. 63-79

As I discussed in my analysis of the Egypt Male Survey in the preceding chapter, demographic studies on Egypt tend to be constructed in terms of the rural-urban divide. In this formulation the rural is defined as the traditional space, and the urban pertains to the modern and the progressive. Egyptian health- and population-related surveys are generally designed to capture the negative impact of rural living and peasant ...

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4. Women’s Bodies

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pp. 80-101

My introduction into Qaramoos, the Delta village community in which I did part of my fieldwork,1 was through a local family health center, staffed primarily by doctors from a medical research university in Cairo. The doctors provided services and conducted research in the area for their postgraduate degrees. At this stage of my research, I was interested in becoming familiar with the people who used the clinic. ...

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5. Women’s Choices

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pp. 102-119

“Ihna rabish” (we are rubbish) was how Rasha responded when I asked her whether she had any opinion on the family planning program in Egypt. She was a high-school-educated clerk employed by the family planning clinic near Qaramoos. Her disgust, expressed partly in English, was directed at the kinds of contraceptive pills available at the clinic. Women she knew had suffered multiple medical problems while on the pill and ...

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6. Men and Family Planning

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pp. 120-136

The Lacoutures continue by emphasizing that “the population increase in Egypt, from a social point of view, is linked to ignorance, superstition, ill health, poverty and the Islamic customs themselves (polygamy and divorce)” (1958: 358). Like many authors of the colonial and contemporary eras, the Lacoutures argue that these demographic and social problems could be corrected only through education and social development and ...

Part Three

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7. Constructing New Selves

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pp. 139-152

The population debate in Egypt has many actors. As much as it is a site of dialogue between the Egyptian state and international donors such as USAID, it is also an arena of discussion and confrontation between the state and other social forces in contemporary Egypt. Among them are the women’s groups, who criticize the state’s population policy from a secular women’s/feminist perspective,1 and the Islamists, who take a religious ...

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8. Islamist Futures

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pp. 153-162

It is important to note that some Egyptian scholars opposed the late-nineteenth-century liberal agenda of scientific progress and domestic change. Many Egyptian male intellectuals of that time took a critical stance against the advocacy of unveiling and female education by female writers and liberals like Qasim Amin.1 Their opposition to women’s public education and participation in the workforce indicates a different ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 163-168

International development agencies view the nuclearization of families as positively influencing contraceptive use by Egyptian women. In the last several decades Western social science has also portrayed the nuclear family as linked to progress and democratic norms and essential for the spread and consolidation of capitalism (Stacey 1996). The process of nuclearization of households may, however, have less to do with the desires of ...

Notes

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pp. 169-198

Bibliography

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pp. 199-222

Index

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pp. 223-233