This article analyses the Cairo International Book Fair as a “field configuring event” (FCE), namely, as a recurrent mass event that both reflects the social fields surrounding it and contributes to the shaping of these fields. More specifically, it is argued that the Cairo International Book Fair constitutes a major FCE in Egyptian society, which plays a significant role, not only in the publishing field and in the cultural and economic fields at large, but also in the political field. Focusing on the political field, the article traces how the Cairo International Book Fair in recent decades both reflected key struggles and developments in the Egyptian political field and affected these struggles. In the 1980s, the fair served as a platform for voicing and negotiating various positions toward Egypt’s relations with Israel; in the 1990s, it served as a platform for negotiating the relations between Islamists and Liberals; and in the 2000s, it served as a platform for negotiating the “permitted” level of criticism toward Mubarak’s regime. The article thus shows that the Cairo International Book Fair constitutes a useful prism for examining developments in the Egyptian political field over the years.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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- Cairo book fair
- field configuring event
- political discourse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies