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Making and Unmaking Masculinities and Religious Identities through the Politics of the Ear in Egypt


In this three year research project Maria Frederika Malmström explores the anthropology of vibrations, and the broader sensory field and its materialized emotions produced through affective politics. More specifically, this study provides new perspectives on the constant making and unmaking of masculinities in relation to identities and citizenship as well as the development of a neo-patriarchal state after the January 25 revolution and onward through an ethnography of soundscapes in Cairo.

Soundscapes can be used as a form of political control and violence, Malmström’s previous work in Egypt also shows how people through sound—and sonic resistance—navigate landscapes of insecurity, violence and displacement.

This 3-year project brings together research on masculinities, affect, the materiality of sound as well as the literature on listening in order to pose urgent questions about the agency of listening of masculinities in the public sphere. The study elaborates the new soundscape that can be linked not only to modern citizenship (and ‘proper’ Islam), as other scholars have noted, but to proper masculinities, in which the masculinities of the military regime and the political opposition are at issue.


  • Through its emphasis upon sound and listening, this project helps us move beyond conventional approaches to exploring the fluid production of gender in different settings.
  • The project opens up space to investigate the non-conscious forces that have a profound influence upon our thinking and decisions in moments of intensity.
  • The goal is not just to provide an ethnographic account of gender-in-the-making. It is also a theoretical attempt to broaden key analytical concepts in social science thought.

Research Team

Maria Malmström, CMES Researcher

maria [dot] malmstrom [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se

Photo: Maria Frederika Malmström