This thesis attempts to answer the question - What does it mean to be half/plural Egyptian in Egypt? It focuses on the experiences of individuals with one Egyptian parent and one foreign parent living in Egypt. A secondary goal was to examine how individuals created niches and familiarity for themselves within a socio-cultural context marked by the upholding of rigid social boundaries. Contacts were made through existing social ties and referrals by friends and colleagues. Methodologically I conducted interviews with my interlocutors, after introductory e-mails explaining the project and requesting background information in order to ascertain participants' suitability for the project. I also conducted research on the internet via keyword searches and gained access to Facebook groups which were created exclusively for 'Half Egyptians' by 'half Egyptians'. Participant observation took the form of social gatherings. The majority of individuals I engaged with in this research communicated that Egyptians either categorized them as 'Egyptian' or 'foreign' making it clear that there was no category in between. A major deciding factor in this categorization was the gender of the Egyptian parent. This indicates that even though the nationality law changed in 2004 allowing women to confer citizenship, it has little effect on the production of ideas about and the social perceptions of Egyptianness. In my thesis I also examined the meanings of foreignness and Egyptianness. Based on my research it is evident that Egyptianness, though shrouded in ambiguity as to what it really means, remains a "fixed category" in people's discourses and actions, lacking flexibility and possibilities of inclusion for those labeled as plurals or half Egyptians. The existence of such pluralities, as demonstrated in the lived experiences of participants in my study who have one foreign parent, are rejected in daily social encounters as falling under the rubric of 'foreign'. This process of social marginalization does not enable a blending of social and cultural barriers.

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2011

First Advisor

Sabea, Hanan

Second Advisor

Westmoreland, Mark



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Intercountry marriage.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Citizenship -- Egypt.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item