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Nadeem Karkabi


The South Sinai region in Egypt has been a politically disputed borderland. After three decades, it was transformed to a tourist area and, in recent years, seen the development of residential settlements as well. This paper will explore how European lifestyle migrants and indigenous Bedouins negotiate civil membership vis-à-vis the Egyptian state in the tourist coastal towns in the area. It will discuss the implementation of governmental policies to nationalise South Sinai, on the one hand, and the establishment of civic spaces operating on free global market basis in order to achieve financial development, on the other. The contradiction between these two processes created a situation where a group of foreign migrants was allowed privileged rights, whereas indigenous Bedouins were collectively marginalised. By relating to policies regarding property ownership and accommodation of lifestyle migration, I will discuss how the Egyptian government allowed not only individual inequality, but also a categorical difference, to prevail based on tribal affiliation and financial qualifications away from national belonging. The violation of the sensitive equilibrium operating within the frames of the modern nation-state, between the idea of national community with equal rights and that of free economic rights to individual property, has created a threat to the Egyptian state as a governing authority.