Institutionalist accounts of sectarian and ethnic conflict tend to emphasize national divisions. For the "master cleavages" of identity politics to shape behavior, however, they must be reproduced at the local level. Otherwise, citizens will not experience private disagreements in terms of officially promoted differences. This finding comes from extensive fieldwork on collective assaults upon Christians in Qena, Egypt. The Egyptian state favors Muslim citizens over Christian citizens, but in Qena local practices eclipsed this national hierarchy. The likelihood of attacks on Christians depended not on how the state categorized Egyptian governors (Muslim or Christian), but whether the governors reproduced Muslim primacy in their social relationships.