This article proposes new ways of thinking about subaltern agency and resistance through a historical study of Egypt's family planning program. According to demographic data and ethnographic studies of rural reproduction in Egypt from 1965 to 1980, the vast majority of rural Egyptian women resisted government attempts to manage their reproduction. This resistance was unique from other forms of subaltern resistance scholars usually study: it was neither a violent uprising, nor was it a "hidden transcript" as described by the historian James C. Scott. Instead, rural women engaged in a different kind of resistance by openly flouting the government's initiatives in an unorganized way without fear of state retribution. Examining rural women's responses to this new government family planning program reveals the state's developmental anxieties in the post-colonial period and the strategies that rural women adopted in response to changing economic circumstances. This article contributes new insights about subaltern agency, resistance, and state power.


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pp. 12-37
Launched on MUSE
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