New Books in Urban Studies podcast

Harry Pettit, "The Labor of Hope:: Meritocracy and Precarity in Egypt" (Stanford UP, 2023)

15 Sekunden vorwärts
15 Sekunden vorwärts
Capitalism is not only an economic system but also a system of production and allocation of hope. In Egypt, a generation of young men desire fulfilling employment, meaningful relationships, and secure family life, yet find few paths to achieve this.  In The Labor of Hope:: Meritocracy and Precarity in Egypt (Stanford UP, 2023), Harry Pettit follows these educated but underemployed men as they struggle to establish careers and build satisfying lives. In so doing, this book reveals the lived contradiction at the heart of capitalist systems - the expansive dreams they encourage and the precarious lives they produce. Pettit considers the various ways individuals cultivate distraction and hope for future mobility: education, migration, consumption, and prayer. These hope-filled practices are a form of emotional labor for young men, placing responsibility on the individual rather than structural issues in Egypt’s economy. Illuminating this emotional labor, Pettit shows how the capitalist economy continues to capture the attention of the very people harmed by it. Harry Pettit is Assistant Professor in Economic Geography at Radboud University Nijmegen. His research is on emotional politics and late capitalism. He has published articles on the emotional politics of precarious labour in Cairo in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, and Emotion, Space, and Society. Yadong Li is a PhD student in anthropology at Tulane University. His research interests lie at the intersection of the anthropology of state, the anthropology of time, hope studies, and post-structuralist philosophy. More details about his scholarship and research interests can be found here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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