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Policing ambiguity: Muslim saints-day festivals and the moral geography of public space in Egypt



In this article, I explore how the festive culture of mulids, Egyptian Muslim saints-day festivals, troubles notions of habitus, public space, and religious and civic discipline that have become hegemonic in Egypt in the past century and how state actors attempt to “civilize” mulids by subjecting them to a spectacular, representative order of spatial differentiation. I argue that habitus must be understood as a political category related to competing relationships of ideology and embodiment and that the conceptual and physical configuration of modern public space is intimately related to the bodily and moral discipline of its users. [veneration of saints, festivals, habitus, public space, state, Islam, Egypt]