Much of Professor Samer Shehata’s research has focused on Egyptian politics and society, and he is originally from Egypt. His current research project, under a book contract with Stanford University Press, examines the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in formal politics and the group’s evolving political strategy, particularly its electoral participation during the last decade of Mubarak’s rule. Shehata has undertaken extensive field research with Brotherhood candidates in Mansoura (2005), Alexandira (2010, 2011), and Cairo (2011, 2012).
Shehata’s first research project focused on working class culture and politics in Egypt. He undertook an ethnography of two Egyptian textile factories, examining class formation at the micro-level — inside the factory — at the point of production. The research adopted a practice-centered theory of social class which highlighted the importance of culture and the symbolic dimensions of class formation. He explored shop floor culture, authority relations in the factory, power and resistance and the epistemology of ethnographic knowledge production. The most interesting and original aspect of the study was methodological: Shehata worked as a “winding machine operator” in both factories for ten months.