Boundaries and Margins

The Making of the ‘Golden Cage’

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Eirini Chrysocheri Goldsmiths, University of London

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This article focuses on the Greek community of Alexandria, a socially and territorially bounded Diaspora entity that articulates a sense of connection to place through claims of a historically continuous socio-spatial connection to both Egypt and Greece. Through analyses of visual material collected and produced during fieldwork, I explore the spatial and social boundaries of the community before and after Nasser's 1952 revolution and highlight discontinuities in the narratives and imaginings of the city articulated by different generations. Studying the creation of new borders, I reveal how restriction to, and isolation within, the ‘golden cage’ of Greek areas is both willingly embraced and a source of frustration. I conclude by outlining how spatial and ideological boundaries overlap and how they are shifted and defended by Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the city.

Contributor Notes

Eirini Chrysocheri is a visual anthropologist who studied History of Art and Archaeology, completed her postgraduate studies in Archaeology and Social Anthropology and received her PhD in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her main research focuses on visual representation of memory, identity and space among the Greek community of Alexandria (Egypt), while her broader areas of interest include visual anthropology, photography, documentary films and exhibitions. She has curated several exhibitions and was involved in the making of documentary films as director and historical researcher. She has also been involved in teaching courses at different levels, covering the areas of art history and visual anthropology. Email:

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