the hexis of interpretation: Islam and the body in the Egyptian popular school

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Abstract

This article examines how travelers, colonial officials, and educators have treated prayer and other body rituals in Egyptian popular schools. Once the object of colonial critiques of indigenous pedagogy, body ritual has now become the focus of a functionalist discourse that reads bodily postures and movements as natural manifestations of social, ideological, and cosmological structures. Starting from Bourdieu's notion of hexis, the literal embodiment of ideology, the article examines how Egyptians—and anthropologists—extract meaning from ritual behavior.

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