This thesis explores how boarder guards limits the amount of knowledge an anthropologist really can obtain doing research. The research is based upon a concrete case study in Egypt where local and national government bodies "border guard" how knowledge is gained within a development project. This research shows how although anthropological knowledge and research provide a body of theory within which policy is created the policy should come with a "health warning". Field research undoubtedly give more information than so called "armchair" research, but it is far from giving the policy makers the full picture of the society, or project which is being researched. The policy which is being created on the background of any research will thus suffer. I explore the historical roots of the construction of anthropological knowledge and the limits which are placed upon this production. The theory upon which the research is based covers anthropology and development theory, as well as gender issues, as interconnected approaches to the study of society. The research in this thesis is based upon the interaction between the researcher and the local state representatives. The fieldwork is set in a rural Egyptian village, with a focus on a Literacy Programme that was created to combat the literacy gap in Egypt.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Cynthia Nelson

Committee Member 1

Cynthia Nelson

Committee Member 2

Pandeli Glavanis

Committee Member 3

Soraya Altorki

Document Type



115 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Rural development

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Social planning


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Call Number

Thesis 2005/87