Abstract: This thesis contributes to knowledge in the field of medical anthropology, particularly in Egypt and the Middle East, in two specific ways. First, the thesis demonstrates how a limited focus on kinship and micro social relations precludes a full understanding of the life experiences of people, especially at times of illness. The thesis shows that these conceptual limitations stem from a romanticized view of Egyptian culture—a view that poorly corresponds to the contemporary Egyptian situation. The thesis proposes that social networks And the ground between micro and macro social associations need to be incorporated into future studies of medical anthropology in general, and in Egypt and the Middle East in particular. Second, the thesis demonstrates how cultural values linked to the diversity of social classes and unequal access to social and financial capital shape illness experience. It is argued that access to biomedical services is a social manifestation of cultu! ! rally constructed subcultures where kinship, social networks, and social hierarchy produce the current inequalities in well-being among inhabitants of modern Egypt. A cultural and social analysis grounded in the history of Egyptian modernity is pursued here to better understand current inequality in social and physical well-being. Space, aesthetics, religion, network affiliation, and other factors constitute essential elements of this analysis. The thesis proposes integrating a study of the cultural manifestations of the production of social inequality into all future studies of illness in Egypt and the Middle East. It is concluded that a culture of social distinctions and discrimination prevails, and that such a culture shapes social relations and illness experience. Unless this culture is understood and addressed, there is little hope for an equal distribution of resources for well-being among Egyptians.