The Egyptian Coffeehouse: Culture, Politics and Urban Space

Dalia Mostafa, Amina Elbendary

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


The coffeehouse is a microcosm of Egyptian society with its history of multiculturalism and diversity. It is not only a social space which was created and shaped by the people in their streets, neighbourhoods and cities, but it also occupies a sphere in the popular imagination full of stories, memories and social networks. This book, for the first time in English, analyses the importance of the coffeehouse as an urban phenomenon, with its cultural, historical, economic and political significance in contemporary Egyptian society. Historically, the coffeehouse has played a key role as a commercial enterprise; and culturally, as a place for rich literary and artistic production which has multi-faceted representations in Egyptian novels, cinema and popular music, among other genres. Economically, the coffeehouse has been vital for accessing job opportunities, especially for informal workers; in addition to providing a space for political mobilisation during decisive historical events, as well as in recent years during the January 2011 revolution and its aftermath. Through extended interviews with six residents in Cairo, the authors further examine the influence of the coffeehouse as a significant feature of urban living in Egypt.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherI.B. Tauris
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)9780755635245
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2020


  • Egypt
  • Coffeehouse
  • Cultural Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies


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