Meanings And Feelings: Local Interpretations Of The Use Of Violence In The Egyptian Revolution

Farha Ghannam, Swarthmore College


I trace the shifting feelings of some of my close interlocutors in a low-income neighborhood in Cairo and explore some of the cultural meanings that informed their attempts to make sense of the changing situation during the first days of the Egyptian revolution. Specifically, I reflect on how existing concepts that structure uses of violence have been central to the way men and women interpreted the attacks of baltagiyya (thugs) on the protesters in Tahrir Square and how these interpretations ultimately framed my interlocutors feelings and views of the revolution, Mubarak's regime, and its supporters. [revolution, baltagiyya, violence, Egypt, structures of feeling]