Egypt: Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity

By Vitalis, Robert | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Egypt: Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity


Vitalis, Robert, The Middle East Journal


EGYPT

Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity, by Timothy Mitchell. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA and London, UK: University of California Press, 1990. xiii + 303 pages. Notes to p. 380. Sel. bibl. to p. 401. Index to p. 413. $49.95 cloth; $14.95 paper.

Rule of Experts is the most significant collection of essays by a single author to be produced in contemporary Middle East social science in a generation. There is no one writing today in the field more important than Mitchell. As was the case with his first book, Colonizing Egypt, this new one is apt to be the one book on Egypt that will be widely read and cited by scholars across area studies fields, disciplines, and places, from Paris to Delhi.1 Why will it? Because Mitchell uses his studies of Egypt to challenge us all to think harder, deeper, and more politically than we might want to about what we do when we do social science. It is "a book of political theory," he says, "but it sets forth a kind of theory that...avoids the method of abstraction from the particular that usually characterizes a work of theory. The theory lies in the complexity of the cases" (p. 8). Good, a reader of The Middle East Journal might think. Abstract academic theorizing seems increasingly divorced from "real world" concerns. Yet Mitchell's carefully crafted essays on Egyptian agriculture, irrigation, peasant studies, and development reform are aimed at uncovering the shaky foundations of this very object, the so-called real world.

Taking off on the arguments and method first used in Colonizing Egypt, Mitchell shows Egypt's and by extension colonialism's centrality to the new, emerging disciplines of the social sciences. Each of these disciplines, in its own way, insists that an unseen logic underpins "social life" or the "historical process" akin to that unseen world to which we gain entry when we open the pages of a biology or physics text. Mitchell argues that the practices that become what we call the social sciences (from map-making, calculating, counting, and enumerating to econometrics), together with the putative founding fathers of fields like economics (men such as John Stuart Mill, Thomas Malthus, and John Maynard Keynes) are bound up with nineteenth and twentieth century colonialism in direct ways.

Yet, the genealogical connection has been forgotten, as the social sciences have come to fix our understanding of "the logic of the market" or of "modernity" or other names given to "large patterns of social and political change" that supposedly "move" outwards from "the West. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Egypt: Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.