Bokra a7la (Tomorrow is Better): Embodying Political Agency after the Egyptian Revolution
Malmström's current anthropological research project (about materiality, affect and transformative politics in Egypt) explores how Cairene women and men from different generations, most often well-educated and with different orientations in relation to Islam, understand and respond to the unfolding dynamic processes in Egypt in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings as well as today’s instabilities. They are mostly poets, writers, journalists, actors and dancers with various (most often unstable) incomes, often working at something other than their vocations to be able to survive. These Cairene women and men are, in their own view, critical, left-oriented and politically aware, sometimes referring to themselves as “cultural people/intellectuals.” By focusing on the body, the senses and public affect, I reflect on the role of immediate and experience-based forces in transitional Egypt, exploring what I call affective politics. I want to investigate how these forces impact the sense of belonging and desire for comfort in times of chaos and political instability. How is the body involved? How are people able to grasp those inner things? Is it possible? And finally, how does politics feel?
The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council.