Mappings of power: The state, NGOs, and international organizations in the informal economy of Cairo

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Abstract

Julia Elyachar examines the ways in which squatting on land in Cairo, both illegal and an everyday practice, gets complicated, and "informal practices" get raised to a higher power when the squatter is a branch of government and there are no maps to be found which will untangle the matter for the aggrieved owner of a bodyshop. Informal housing, and the informal economy in general, has become so normalized that what was outside economics and government statistics has now to be mapped and included, the impetus coming not from the state but from the great international monetary and development bodies. The "informal sector" is now formally recognized and theorized about, and the state is increasingly seen as the problem for those in informal housing. But much remains stubbornly off the map for economic analysis, and under world conditions of rapid borderless flows of money, whether legitimate, informal, or criminal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-605
Number of pages35
JournalComparative Studies in Society and History
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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