This article explores men at a state-owned youth center in Cairo, struggling to cope with uncertainties and change in the aftermath of Egypt's January 2011 Revolution. Conceptually, the article critically engages anthropologist Laura Bear's suggestion that an ethics of productivity saturate neoliberal masculinity. As my ethnographic stories about football coaches and state bureaucrats illustrate, being a good man recurrently surfaced as a problem of how to work productively in and on time: as ambiguities between discordant futures that left material needs, familiar care, and development of football talents difficult to reconcile. Often, my interlocutors linked this conundrum to a wide-ranging opacity, conjured as corruption (fisad). My analysis of this male predicament allows me to spotlight one of the Egyptian revolution's most luring promises: a transparent and meritocratic system, where a man's work would finally be allowed to work on all futures deemed morally and materially significant.
Fields of Science
- 5143 Social and cultural anthropology