Tanta llKettan wel Zeyoot (trans. Tanta Flax and Oils Company) was a company established in Gamal AbdulNasser’s 1954 within the backdrop of a care-taking public sector. The company, emblematic of many public sector companies, got privatized as part of the larger neoliberal state vision, stemming with Anwar al-Sadat’s Infitah (Open Door) policies. These policies were embedded and solidified later within the nineties’ Economic Reform and Structural Adjustment Program policies package propagated by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. With 2011’s Egypt’s utopic revolutionary imaginary and its moments of open-ended dreams, the labor movement appealed to court to revoke its privatization decision. In July 2011, Tanta llKettan got reinstated to the public sector, resulting in the labor movement’s entanglement in another series of struggles. Its workers had over a decade of a vivacious and tenacious movement, creating one of the longest labor movements lasting over a decade. Workers navigating with, through and in-between various power configurations and security apparatuses. This dissertation looks at how workers navigated various forms of oppression by different apparatuses of the state, its bureaucracies and institutions. There is no particular point in which one can revert back to and claim labor negotiations had started. However, the project, at large, looks at what constituted Tanta llKettan’s movement to its workers. I ask what kind of potentialities emerge when we see their movement differently? How can we narrate stories of Tanta's labor(ing) movement? How do different intensities of various spatiotemporal moments create and recreate events; and how do they affect the ways stories are told? This dissertation is a loosely-held archive, of stories, that speak to sentiments of endurance; not abandonment nor sustenance. I take the spontaneous unorganized action of workers as an entry point to venture with a labor movement that bore over a decade of violence resultant from their company's privatization. Rather than looking at the labor movement in relation to strikes held, I follow how the labor movement in relation to the lives and afterlives of people, objects and spaces, could be described sensorially through workers' memories.


Sociology, Egyptology & Anthroplology Department

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Graduation Date

Fall 12-15-2020

Submission Date


First Advisor

Hanan Sabea

Committee Member 1

Manuel Schwab

Committee Member 2

Martina Rieker


268 p

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item