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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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Protest and the Medieval Social Imagination

Protest and the Medieval Social Imagination

(p.156) (p.157) 6 Protest and the Medieval Social Imagination
Crowds and Sultans

Amina Elbendary

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter considers popular protest as a reflection of how the late medieval societies of Egypt and Syria, especially in their urban centers, imagined the ideal social order. It shows how protest was at times manipulated and channeled by those in power, to allow for vents that would relieve social pressure. The fact that this kind of maneuvering was quite common during the late Mamluk period highlights the delicate balances both rulers and ruled were negotiating. The chapter first examines protests as attempts to preserve an established social order, traditions, and customary privileges in the face of profound social changes and transformations. It then discusses restrictions on non-Muslims and sectarian violence during the period, the role of the state in encouraging and manipulating urban protest, and the use of prayer, satire, and parody in protest. It also explores protests by peasants and the involvement of the Mamluk underworld, or zuʻar, in protests.

Keywords:   popular protest, social order, Mamluk period, non-Muslims, sectarian violence, urban protest, prayer, satire, peasants, zuʻar

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