My thesis examines the processes by which the reproduction of power and social hierarchies transpire in the field of international, private schools in Egypt. More specifically, I will analyze how the linguistic system in these schools reproduce and reinforce forms of power and inequality. I will consider the process by which nonnative languages, principally English, became the dominant and legitimate linguistic system of these schools, and how the complexities of their habitus have influenced students' language beliefs and practices. Language is a place for ideological contestation and identity assertion reinforcing power relations between groups and individuals. Differences in accent, grammar, language, and vocabulary indicate hierarchical social positions and quantities of linguistic capital. Furthermore, this process has stigmatized Arabic, although the national language, as deficient and subordinate. Using a theoretical framework guided by the work of Pierre Bourdieu and through ethnographic fieldwork, I will attempt to understand the effects such developments have on structuring agents' (studentsâ primarily Egyptian, teachers, alumni) behavior and beliefs, and how private schools assist in the reproduction of this social order. Aside from my ethnographic fieldwork, I explore the effects of two transformative socio-historical processes on Egypt's education system and social order. First, I explore the emergence of the effendiya and the reproduction of their habitus and practices into a privileged, cosmopolitan class. Second, I explore the reproduction of social positions and inequalities through the continued bifurcation of Egypt's education system into two distinct tracks. Previous scholarship focused on public Egyptian schools analyzing curriculum, the pyramidal and antidemocratic nature of public schooling, the impact of Islam on school culture, and the State and Arabic language polices. I, however, will focus on the complexities of social processes in Egypt's â privilegedâ class regarding the development of language using education as the site of contestation. Through a rather unexplored approach, this thesis will show how inequalities and social hierarchies are transferred into the macrosociety through the English language and education. Furthermore, it also addresses ways in which power relations and social positions of the elite in Egypt are maintained and reproduced.
Middle East Studies Center
MA in Middle East Studies
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Language schools -- Egypt.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Education -- Egypt -- 21st century.
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(2012).Thank you, merci, shukran! private education and language in Egypt [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Galegher, Ericka. Thank you, merci, shukran! private education and language in Egypt. 2012. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.