chapter  3
A Village in Upper Egypt
WithNicholas S. Hopkins
Pages 21

This chapter discusses the village geographically and historically and to give a glimpse of its formal institutional structure. The process of agrarian transformation is illustrated from the case study of Musha, a single village, which is taken to be not typical but exemplary. The general changes in the irrigation and land tenure systems that modified the social and physical landscape of Egypt beginning in the 19th century also affected the Zinnar basin. A number of events contributed to ecological and political change in the villages. The village is divided into two halves and a large and somewhat indeterminate number of neighborhoods. The village shares in the institutional structures of modern rural Egypt, and combines these with traditional methods of conflict resolution and self-government. It is thus an appropriate setting for the analysis of the labor process under the changing circumstances of the agrarian transformation.