Striking for Debt: Power, Finance, and Governmentality in Egypt
Keywords: Egypt, Middle East, political anthropology, economic anthropology, debt, markets
This article analyzes the emergence of new forms of power at the turn of the millennium that were articulated via the medium of debt. It draws on ethnographic analysis of a sit-in at a bank carried out by members of an NGO in Cairo to gain access to loans originating with the World Bank. Fieldwork findings are interpreted with reference to historical debates about debt in the 18th century as both corrupting and liberating that are highly relevant to the rise of "empowerment debt" at the turn of the millennium.