9780130336781

The Middle East and Central Asia An Anthropological Approach

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780130336781

  • ISBN10:

    0130336785

  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-07-03
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Summary

Based on a synthesis of the extensive research of Middle Eastern and Western scholars, this lively anthropological introduction to the Middle East and Central Asia explores the socio-political complexities of those regions and introduces students to the questions that have been, and are being, developed by scholars and writers concerned with the two regions.The volume provides an anthropological introduction to the Middle East, and Central Asia including region, economy, and society, personal and family relationships, change in practical ideologies, the cultural order of complex societies, religion and experience and the shape of change.For individuals interested in an introduction to the Middle East and Central Asia.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Note on Transliteration xii
PART I INTRODUCTION 1(44)
Anthropology, The Middle East, and Central Asia
1(21)
The Middle East and Central Asia: Shifting Frontiers
1(7)
First Approximations
8(11)
Anthropology Today: Practical Assumptions
19(2)
Further Readings
21(1)
Intellectual Predecessors: East and West
22(23)
Bonaparte's Expedition to Egypt, 1798-1801
28(1)
Explorers: John Lewis Burckhardt (1784--1817) and Edward Lane (1801--1876)
29(4)
Scholars: W. Robertson Smith (1846--1894)
33(4)
Scholarly Inquiry and Imperial Interests
37(5)
Further Readings
42(3)
PART II LOCATIONS: REGION, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY 45(70)
Village and Community
45(19)
Village and Community Studies
47(10)
Economy and Village Society
57(5)
Further Readings
62(2)
Pastoral Nomadism
64(20)
Pastoral Nomadism: Changing Political Contexts
67(5)
Arabian Peninsula Pastoral Nomads: The Rwala Bedouin
72(8)
The Ideology of Equality: Further Considerations
80(2)
Further Readings
82(2)
Cities in Their Place
84(31)
The ``Islamic'' City in the Middle East
88(9)
Colonial Cities and Their Legacy
97(4)
Cities Now
101(11)
Further Readings
112(3)
PART III CONSTRUCTED MEANINGS 115(126)
What Is a Tribe?
115(25)
The Concept of Tribe
115(5)
The Principle of Segmentation
120(6)
A Moroccan Example: The Bni Bataw
126(9)
Ideologies
135(2)
Further Readings
137(3)
Personal and Family Relationships
140(28)
Why Study Kinship?
140(4)
Practical Kinship
144(7)
Analytical Considerations
151(7)
Marriage
158(5)
The Importance of Kin and Family
163(3)
Further Readings
166(2)
Change in Practical Ideologies: Self, Gender, and Ethnicity
168(47)
Naming
170(6)
Women, Men, and Sexuality
176(16)
Ethnicity and Cultural Identity
192(20)
Further Readings
212(3)
The Cultural Order of Complex Societies
215(26)
Worldview
215(3)
Language and Etiquette
218(4)
Iran
222(4)
Morocco: God's Will, Reason, and Obligation
226(6)
North Africans in Israel: Continuity and Change
232(3)
Tournaments of Value: Women, Men, and Social Honor
235(4)
Further Readings
239(2)
PART IV RELIGION AND EXPERIENCE 241(72)
Islam and the ``Religions of the Book''
241(72)
World Religions in the Middle East and Central Asia
241(4)
Producing Orthodoxy for Islam: The ``Five Pillars''
245(11)
The Shi'a
256(4)
An Ideological Frontier? The Alevi
260(5)
The Sufi Tradition
265(7)
``Pious Ones'' and Religious Orders
272(6)
The Authority of Learning
278(7)
Reform and Radicalism: Self-Renewal and Internal Debate
285(13)
Parallels: Christianity and Judaism in the Middle East
298(8)
Further Readings
306(7)
PART V THE SHAPE OF CHANGE 313(48)
State Authority and Society
313(48)
Popular and Elite Conceptions
313(10)
Problems of Authority and Interpretation
323(3)
Colonial Authority
326(8)
Economy and State Authority: Tradition and the Present
334(2)
Writing Middle Eastern Anthropology
336(23)
Further Readings
359(2)
APPENDIX: Internet Resources for the Middle East and Central Asia 361(6)
Glossary 367(6)
Index 373

Excerpts

This book is intended as an anthropological introduction to the Middle East and Central Asia. A second, complementary goal is to point out the contribution that the study of the Middle East and Central Asia is making to the main currents of anthropology, especially those that relate to the analysis of complex societies. As anthropological scholarship on the major civilizational areas of the world has reached a critical intensity, different themes have emerged in each region that have then influenced ideas elsewhere. Because of the Middle East''s complexity and diversity, several interrelated themes prevail. One group of issues is suggested by the study of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and how these world religions are understood both as global movements and in their rich local manifestations in the Middle East. How do local understandings of Islam, for example, affect the wider currents of social thought and practice? How does a world religious tradition such as Islam shape, and become shaped by, the rapidly evolving economic and political contexts in which it is maintained and reproduced? What are the implications of mass higher education, the proliferation of media, and the greater ease of travel and rapid communication for the ways in which people think about religion and politics? Another set of issues concerns ideas that people hold about their cultural and personal identities. In a region as complex as the Middle East, with its overlapping linguistic, ethnic, national, kin, gender, and class distinctions, the problems of how personal and collective identities are asserted and what they mean in differing historical and political contexts are especially crucial. With the rise of ethnonationalism and ethnoreligious nationalisms, such identities are at times more plastic and at other times seemingly more fixed than many earlier assumptions concerning their cultural bases have allowed. A third theme concerns the political contexts and consequences of economic activities--the production, allocation, and consumption of goods and services. Together with practitioners of other disciplines, anthropologists analyze the social and cultural impact of developments such as massive labor emigration from poorer countries, the accrual of oil and mineral wealth to others, urbanization, agricultural innovation, and competition over scarce resources such as water. Anthropologists, like their colleagues in other disciplines, are concerned with what happens to cultural values and social relationships in the context of rapid economic and political change, and with the prospects for more "civil" societies and greater tolerance in the Middle East and Central Asia. A fourth theme concerns changing interpretationsof Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies and cultures by Westerners and by Middle Easterners and Central Asians themselves. This issue, once regarded as a historiographic one related only indirectly to "real" anthropological inquiry, is now considered implicit in any problem in the human sciences. Ideas concerning what constitutes valid description and interpretation of a culture or society have changed dramatically over the last two centuries, especially as modern anthropological inquiry has ceased to be primarily a Western enterprise. A comparison of this fourth edition with the first one, which appeared in 1981, also suggests how anthropology and our understanding of the Middle East have changed over the past two decades. The first two editions of this book dealt only with the Middle East, a challenging task in itself. For all practical purposes, Central Asia and Azerbaijan were a world apart during the period of Soviet domination, sealed off from adjoining Middle Eastern countries. By the late 1980s, this situation had begun to change. Cross-border cultural and commercial ties between Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries were rapidly created or renewed, and Russian and Central Asian scholars intensified their cooperation with European and American colleagues, often working collaboratively with them. Central Asia and the Muslim-majority regions of the Caucasus have decidedly different profiles from most countries in the Middle East, but many questions and issues applicable to the Middle East serve as useful points of departure for understanding Central Asia. Islam remains a basic (although not exclusive) element of identity for most people in Central Asia, as did Judaism for a significant (although rapidly declining) minority, in spite of vigorous anti-religious campaigns during much of the Soviet era. The privileged status of the Russian language, the "glass ceiling" for Central Asians in much of the former Soviet bureaucracy, and an economic system weighted toward extracting resources from the region rather than developing it bears many similarities to the colonial situation that prevailed in parts of the Middle East. Finally, exploring the interpretive framework by which Soviets and Russians sought to understand Central Asia and comparing developments in Central Asia with what Moscow-based scholars called the "foreign Muslim East" help us understand better the strengths and weaknesses of our own interpretive frameworks. The third edition suggested points of departure for understanding Central Asia, especially the rising significance of ethnonational politics and the related "rewriting" of national and ethnic histories by some of the region''s intellectuals. This fourth edition brings the account up to date, and for the first time incorporates World Wide Web resources and invites readers to augment this text by using them as well. This book is intended both as a textbook and as an interpretive essay. It introduces students, colleagues, and general readers to the Middle East and Central Asia and to the questions that have been and are being developed by scholars and writers concerned with the two regions. Although this book is necessarily a synthesis of major research, I seek to develop a particular style of anthropological inquiry and show its contribution to the study of these two complementary regions. Many textbooks are derivative and unconvincing, in that they rarely convey the sense of discovery that leaps from the pages of the more extensive monographs that constitute the central substance of anthropological inquiry. I hope that this book contains the sense of discovery that I felt in creating it and keeping it up-to-date, and that readers will be prompted to explore some of the monographs, articles, and on-line resources mentioned in the text and footnotes. Chapters conclude with an annotated list of further readings and reference materials. The glossary, containing references to the places where terms are discussed in the text, provides an additional resource for comparison. An entirely new element in this edition is a guide to World Wide Web resources, "Internet Resource''s for the Middle East and Central Asia." The manuscript for the first edition of this book was completed on a portable typewriter in the Sultanate of Oman in late 1979. In that politically turbulent year, an informal group of oasis dwellers in a small provincial capital, often including myself, met almost daily for afternoon coffee in the relatively cool date-palm tree gardens. There we compared notes on what we heard and understood of regional politics from shortwave broadcasts in various languages and from what we ourselves saw and heard. These afternoon "news" sessions, devoted to regional and international politics, were as integral a part of oasis life as concern over property and water rights. Topics at that time included the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, revolutionary Iran, and the November 1979 siege of the Great Mosque in Mecca by militant Muslim radicals. Most of the older tribesmen had firsthand experience of war and rebellion and were fully aware of the fragile political enviro

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