When traditional avenues for learning and participation become inaccessible for marginalized people to learn and participate, people tend to develop other unconventional avenues to learn and participate in decisions that affect their lives. This dissertation examines how rural young women in Egypt utilize self-created social networks as unconventional avenues to learn and advance their civic and political participation. It turns the focus of public participation away from classical, formal Tocquevillian understandings to the unconventional avenues of participation that have remained outside of the scope of much research. It uniquely places the question of the pedagogical and political consequences of social capital into an analysis of women’s social interactions within social networks. The Study adopts constructivist qualitative approach to penetrate women’s realities and capture their unique forms of participation. 49 participants were interviewed through 36 individual in-depth semi-structured interviews and 3 focus group discussions to collect the primary data for this research. The findings reveal that self-created social networks create a space that is not found in other areas of marginalized rural young women’s lives; and that create a unique space for these young women to learn and participate in different civic activities in private and public political domains in Egypt in unconventional ways. Finally, this dissertation sets the groundwork for future study to examine political participation beyond the conventional civic and political activities aimed at marginalized groups in developing democracies around the globe. It also provides policy recommendations for education and international development.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2017. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Roozbeh Shirazi, Joan DeJaeghere. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 294 pages.
Informal social networks, civic learning, and young women’s political participation in Egypt.
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