Author:Amal Abdrabo (Alexandria University, Egypt)
Paper short abstract:
Based on visual anthropology techniques, the study provides new insights into the participatory activities taking place in the city of Alexandria-Egypt. The main question is: How the citizens of Alexandria City used visuality to create a third space of participation to express their opinions?
Paper long abstract:
While exploring new avenues of self-representation within a heavy surveillance context that is constantly a subject of undergoing transformations, it is better not to frame our analysis within conventional research techniques or limited cases of study. Using visual photographing of the public writings on the walls produced by ordinary citizens around the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the research explores different field sites where people work on the creation of new participatory spaces. Whether by studying the public writings on the walls of shrines, the walls of public buildings, or at the back of private-owned cars, the researcher aims to create a topographical library of these messages in relation to explore the temporal versus the permanent, the public versus the private, and the Feminine versus the masculinity. The primary findings, till now, showed that though the main goal of the public-writing messages is to be shown to a broader audience and attract their attention, most of the political-opposite messages appear only in hidden places while the social, cultural and funny messages are bravely displayed with total publicity.
Materiality and spirit: exploring visuality, citizenship and power in urban Africa