Images of alcohol consumption, drunkenness, inebriation, and abstinence have permeated Egyptian films since the industry’s formative years. This study aimed at uncovering the extent and nature of alcoholic content in Egyptian cinema and the possible health implications of such depictions using the perspective of media-influenced perceptions of social reality and the lens of social cognitive theory. For this purpose, the study analyzed the depiction of alcohol in Egyptian films beginning in 1952 till 2015. Content analysis of a stratified random sample of 337 Egyptian films was conducted using the standardized and tested tool developed by The Annenberg-Robert Wood Johnson Coding of Health and Media Project (CHAMP). The unit of analysis was the five-minute segment which provides a uniform and easily identifiable base for comparison. Coding was preceded by a series of seven in-depth interviews with industry experts to contextualize research findings along with historical and sociopolitical changes in Egypt. A total of 1,786 five-minute segments were coded for their alcohol content with 47 films (14%) being alcohol-free. Alcohol was found to be a constant and consistent feature of Egyptian cinema across time and genres. The rate and explicitness of alcohol depiction in films was found to have decreased over the years. It was found that drinking usually occurred by the most significant characters in films and was more often by men. Brand visibility was also a regular feature especially for beers followed by spirits, raising concerns about observational mediated modeling as postulated by social cognitive theory. Moreover, the positive psychological effects of drinking were more commonly shown compared to the negative physiological consequences of alcohol consumption. It was found that less explicit and more explicit depictions of drinking were almost on par, potentially affecting popular beliefs about alcohol as postulated by the perceptions of social reality perspective.


Journalism & Mass Communication Department

Degree Name

MA in Journalism & Mass Communication

Graduation Date

Fall 1-17-2017

Submission Date

January 2017

First Advisor

Hamdy, Naila

Committee Member 1

Allam, Rasha

Committee Member 2

Amin, Hussein


195 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would like to thank Dr. Naila Hamdy for her academic guidance during the past year. I really appreciate her timely feedback, encouragement and support. Thank you for providing me with a large degree of academic freedom while offering helpful advice and steering me in the right direction. Many thanks to the dissertation committee members Dr. Rasha Allam and Dr. Hussein Amin for their encouragement, thorough feedback and valuable comments. It was truly an honor having you on my dissertation committee. I would also like to thank Dr. Amin for his time and invaluable input in the qualitative interview section of this research. Thanks are also due to Dr. Viola Shafik whose passion for Egyptian cinema is contagious. Her academic input has been vital for this thesis and her time for an interview has been invaluable. Many thanks to director Ali Badrakhan, film scholars Dr. Mona El-Sabban, Arab Loutfy and Maggie Morgan for their precious time and priceless input. You have helped place this research into its proper historical and socioeconomic context, in addition to providing me with insider information about Egyptian films. I would also like to recognize the herculean task Mr. Maḥmūd Qāsim has undertaken in Mawsūʻat al-aflām al-ʻArabīyah, 1927-2009 (2009) which includes a bibliography of all Egyptian (and Arab) feature films produced and released in cinemas. This self-published and self-funded publication made it possible to employ random sampling techniques that allow for generalization of findings and advanced statistical analyses. This dissertation in its present form would not be possible without the Graduate Student Grant offered by the American University in Cairo. Their generous contribution made it possible to recruit four coders to analyze 371 Egyptian full-length feature films for their alcohol content. Many thanks to the dedicated film coders Maha Sharra, Mohamed Gameel, Youmna Elsherbiny and George Habash for their professionalism, punctuality and diligence. I would like to acknowledge the Yousef Jameel GAPP Public Leadership Fellowship. It was through Mr. Yousef Jameel’s generous contribution that I was able to follow my passion and pursue this degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. No words can express my gratitude.

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