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Kathrin Sharaf

PhD Thesis Project: Wired Relations - The Internet and Egyptian concepts of friendship in transition? (working title)


Personal Information:

Date of birth: 08. March 1984 in Bayreuth, Germany


  • 06/2003 High-School-Diploma (Abitur), Staudinger Gesamtschule Freiburg, Germany
  • 10/2004 – 01/2010 Studies of Anthropology, Biological Anthropology and Psychology (M.A.), Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
  • 01/2010 Magistra Artium (M.A.), Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany,
    Topic of M.A.-Thesis: "Kairo Online. Insights into the Internet use of young Egyptians". Supervised by Prof. Dr. Judith Schlehe
  • Since 02/2010 PhD candidate at the DFG-research group (Graduiertenkolleg 1288) „Friends, Patrons, Clients“


Work Experience and Fieldwork:

  • 2001 – 2006 Voluntary collaboration at Tibet Kailash Haus Freiburg, Germany
  • 09/2003 – 02/2004 Voluntary collaboration in humanitarian relief projects of the Tibet Förderkreis e.V. in Dharamsala, India
  • 10/2004 – 07/2007 Member of the Anthropology student representative body at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
  • 09/2007 Internship at the „Egyptian center for women’s rights“ in Cairo, Egypt
  • 2008 three month of fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt about internet usage of young Egyptians


Main Research Interests:

Topical focus:

  • Anthropology of Media (Focus Cyberanthropology)
  • Urban Anthropology
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Cultural Globalisation
  • Gender research
  • Medical Anthropology

Regional focus:

  • Middle East (specifically Egypt)
  • Central Asia

PhD Thesis Project:

Wired Relations - The Internet and Egyptian concepts of friendship in transition? (working title)
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Judith Schlehe

Friendship is a universal phenomenon, found within various cultures and societies in different shapes. However, friendship relations are undergoing significant changes in a globalizing world, especially new communication media, such that the Internet plays an important role in the maintenance and development of friendships today. The technological innovations in the interpersonal communication are first and foremost for the youth of particular importance.

The Internet entails that the young people share their lives with more people than it was the case a generation ago. Increasingly these friendship relations are not only purely local, but also intercultural global relations, with the consequence that different ideas and concepts of friendship come across. In the cities of Egypt, the Internet especially among the young is very important for interpersonal relations. The age group 16 to 30 years represents more than 50% of Egyptian Internet users. For most of them, email and chat with friends are in the foreground of their Internet usage.

The main focus of interest lies on the maintenance and expansion of social contacts. Especially in very young societies, like in Egypt, possible changes in existing concepts of friendships, determined by new communication technologies, could be observed in generation comparison.

The aim of the dissertation project is to find answers to the question how or if existing concepts of friendship are changing on account of the Internet. Due to the fact that in Egypt, mainly younger generations use the Internet - and primarily for the purpose of maintaining personal relations – this regional example is particularly suitable for an analysis where the main focus lies on the change of concepts of friendship, because of the great potential for change in generation comparison. The focal point of the study lies on handed down and culturally coined concepts of friendship. It should be explored if there are any differences in the definition of friendship between older and younger generations and whether bequeathed concepts of friendship have an influence on the notions and ideas of friendship of the young people.




  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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