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Crowds and SultansUrban Protest in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria$
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Amina Elbendary

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789774167171

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774167171.001.0001

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Between Riots and Negotiations: Popular Politics and Protest

Between Riots and Negotiations: Popular Politics and Protest

(p.121) 5 Between Riots and Negotiations: Popular Politics and Protest
Crowds and Sultans

Amina Elbendary

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter examines various instances and reports of popular protest, often as a form of negotiation, in late medieval Egypt and Syria, and especially during the fifteenth century. It considers the ways in which different groups in Mamluk society negotiated their interests with the powers that be. It argues that the behavior of common people, especially the urban non-elites, their decisions, and their protests, were part of the transformations occurring at the time and a reflection of the way in which larger groups in society were participating in the politics of their time. It shows how even people who had no direct access to power could resort to a variety of means, including protests and demonstrations, to make their voices heard on issues such as currency devaluation, taxes and levies, and injustices and perceived corruption of officials. Mamluk soldiers also joined the ranks of those raising their voices, and their arms, against sultans.

Keywords:   popular protest, negotiation, Egypt, Syria, urban non-elites, politics, currency devaluation, taxes, corruption, soldiers

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