Dr Elisa Wynne-Hughes

Lecturer in International Relations

Email:
wynne-hughese@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0)29 2087 6096
Location:
2.37, Law building

My research is motivated by a concern to better understand the social construction, positioning and governance of subjects through everyday (popular culture) practices, most recently examining the politics of Western tourism in Cairo. Building from this research I am writing a politicised guidebook, The Political Planet, Cairo, to encourage more inclusive tourism visions and policies. I am also working on projects that examine how popular representations of street harassment in Cairo reinforce international and Egyptian security policies that target ‘bad’ Arab/Muslim males as (sexually) threatening. Finally, I am examining the tactics of transnational stop street harassment groups. I analyse the potentially emancipatory and exclusionary potentials of their everyday governance and security strategies.

My research interests include: critical international relations, the international politics of tourism, postcolonial governmentality, neoliberal subjectivities, popular culture and world politics, the international politics of the Middle East/North Africa, critical security studies, international political sociology, the politics of gender, sexuality, race and class, poststructural, feminist and postcolonial theories, discourse analysis and ethnographic research methods.

Current Research

My most recent work examines the relationship between Western knowledge of Egypt and governmental policy at four tourist sites in Cairo: the Pyramids of Giza, Khan al Khalili market, Garbage City and Tahrir Square. It studies how tourism governs through various practices that shape the behaviours of tourists and Egyptians at these sites. Western tourism’s neocolonial images of Egypt reinforce elite visions and neoliberal security/development policies that exclude the majority of Egyptians from economic participation. This project combines governmentality and postcolonial approaches to study tourism as a technology of governance that reproduces hierarchical social relations between and within nation-states. This work makes a significant contribution to knowledge about the Middle East and Egypt specifically, and more importantly to our understanding of the role of popular culture in neoliberal governance.

My newer projects investigate the potential for everyday governance practices to be redirected for emancipatory purposes.  My current research examines responses to street harassment in Cairo to understand how they reinforce or redirect governance practices. This began as an article based on my tourism research, ‘Flirtation and Fear: Gendered Tourism, Transnational Terrorism’. This article examines how representations of street harassment in tourism guidebooks legitimise international and Egyptian security policies that target ‘bad’ Arab/Muslim males as (sexually) threatening. Meanwhile, in April 2014 I conducted interviews with members of six projects in Cairo to stop street harassment, which contributed to a Bristol-based ESRC-funded research project entitled ‘Transforming Insecurity through Nonviolent Grassroots Networks’. My ‘Flirtation and Fear’ article and subsequent fieldwork in Cairo inspired me to write an article,  ‘Self-Governance in Zero-Tolerance Zones: the spatial politics of stop street harassment campaigns in Cairo’, which studies the post-2011 campaigns by various groups to tackle street harassment in a way that avoids state violence and victim blaming. Instead, these groups focus on ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment by targeting day-to-day practices in the streets of Cairo. I am currently examining these spatial tactics to understand the potentially emancipatory and exclusionary potentials of these localised governance and security strategies. I have received ESRC Impact Initiator funding for this work. The ensuing article lays the groundwork for a larger joint project examining everyday security strategies to tackle street harassment transnationally. To initiate this project, I have recently been successful in a bid for an Independent Social Research Foundation Flexible Grant for Small Groups in collaboration with Professor Jutta Weldes at SPAIS, who has been working with UK-based stop street harassment projects. This grant will allow us to conduct initial ethnographic fieldwork and workshops with groups working to stop street harassment both across the UK and in Cairo. We will follow this up with a bid for an ESRC or Leverhulme research grant to fund a larger project that would also study groups working in India and the USA.

I am also working on a project that brings together scholars who apply governmentality and postcolonial approaches to better understand how neoliberal governance is shaped and reproduced through everyday practices in postcolonial sites. To do so, last September I organised a workshop entitled ‘Postcolonial Governmentality: Theory, Sites and Practices’ with Terri-Anne Teo from the University of Bristol. This workshop, featuring Vivienne Jabri (King’s College London) as the keynote speaker, involved academics and postgraduate students from LAWPL and Cardiff University, the UK and Europe working in various disciplines. We engaged in discussions and established a network of scholars who combine postcolonial and governmentality approaches in relation to their empirical work in postcolonial sites. We are holding a second workshop, ‘Spatial Practices of Postcolonial Governance: Inequalities, Exclusions and Potentials’, next September at Cardiff University. At the next workshop, sponsored by the Poststructural Politics Working Group, Colonial/Postcolonial/Decolonial Working Group and the Africa Working Group of BISA, and the Cardiff School of Law and Politics, we aim to cement our network and continue to develop this postcolonial governmentality framework in relation to contemporary transnational phenomena. We are planning to hold a third workshop in Cairo in 2016. We also intend to publish the papers from our workshops in a special issue of International Political Sociology and to publish an edited volume on Postcolonial Governmentalities with the Routledge Interventions Series. Through this project, we are building supportive links between scholars across different BISA working groups and at different stages in their careers.

New Research

My next project builds from my research on tourism in Egypt to write a politicised guidebook, The Political Planet, Cairo. Popular guidebooks to Egypt present a sanitised image of Cairo that is palatable to global tourists and Egyptian elites. This one-sided image reinforces exclusionary Egyptian tourism policies that treat poorer Egyptians as inauthentic to tourist sites, insofar as working class masculinities and development trajectories are represented as deviant. I argue that another type of guidebook is possible, one that challenges the current one-dimensional tourist experience. The Political Planet will highlight the many different facets of popular Egyptian tourism sites to encourage more inclusive tourism visions and policies. I have recently submitted an application for a Leverhulme Fellowship, which will allow me to develop, enhance and disseminate an original ‘politicised guidebook’ genre. I will write corresponding articles that evaluate the guidebook’s effectiveness in resisting dominant tourism and elite visions of Egypt.

PhD in Politics, Bristol, UK
MA in Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada
BA (Honours) in Political Studies and English Literature, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

 

PhD in Politics, Bristol, UK
MA in Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada
BA (Honours) in Political Studies and English Literature, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

 

PhD in Politics, Bristol, UK
MA in Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada
BA (Honours) in Political Studies and English Literature, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

 

I welcome proposals for research projects in my areas of research.

Current Teaching:
International Security (2nd Year, UG)
The International Politics of the Middle East: Security, Development and Governance (3rd Year, UG)
Popular Culture and World Politics (PGT)

Research units

Research groups and networks

Research centres