This thesis investigates the construction of a new Islamic identity by middle aged elite women in Egypt. I argue that the search for a new Islamic identity by elite women should be viewed as a redefinition of identity fully autonomous from the current codes imposed by the media. For them, the search for meaning takes place in the reconstruction of defensive identities informed by Islamic notions. The construction of a new Islamic identity by elite women should be viewed in terms the conflicts they face in society. The conflict arises from the society's endeavor to impose certain codes and the women's attempt to establish their own to symbolically represent their actual reality. Elite women's criticism of society is not directed against specific social structure and does not address the redistribution of resources or of political power. It rather aims at the production of meanings, values and behavioral models of their own.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Asef Bayat

Committee Member 1

Asef Bayat

Committee Member 2

Nazek Nossier

Committee Member 3

Helen Rizzo

Document Type



141 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1


Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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Call Number

Thesis 2003/51