Culture and Dignity. Dialogues Between the Middle East and the West - Product Image

Culture and Dignity. Dialogues Between the Middle East and the West

  • ID: 2223828
  • Book
  • Region: Middle East
  • 264 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Culture and Dignity explores the roots of the complex connections between the East and the West.  Laura Nader uses ethnography to differentiate between the stereotype and reality of East–West relations and Arab documents, from the Crusades as well as contemporary Arab ethnography, to deconstruct the filters through which we see each other.  By examining historical exchanges between East and West, Nader reveals how privileging difference has often led to violence and desensitization.  In her vivid examples from history as well as analysis of ongoing events, she delineates the myriad indignities and false assumptions that surround Western dealings with Arabs and Muslims.

This highly readable treatise from an influential voice in contemporary anthropology is based on the premise that a look in the mirror is essential for understanding what is going on today the fundamentalisms we share religious, economic, and political dignity theirs and ours.  Culture and Dignity offers more than a half–century of personal and professional experience in presenting Middle Eastern and Western perspectives on one another, and insights into relationships between East and West into the twenty–first century.

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Acknowledgments x

Preface xii

1 Introduction 1

Indignities 5

Naturalizing Difference and the Great Transformation 14

Comparison, Ethnography, and History 17

2 From Rifaah al–Tahtawi to Edward Said: Lessons in Culture and Dignity 24

Introduction 24

Rifaah al–Tahtawi and France 26

A Hundred Years Later: Edward Said 34

Concluding Comments 45

3 Ethnography as Theory: On the Roots of Controversy in Anthropology 51

Introduction 51

Unstated Consensus 54

Defining Ethnographic Worth: 1896 2000 55

Ethnographic Audiences 64

An Outsider Looking In on Anthropology s Ethnography 69

Concluding Comments 74

4 Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Control of Women 80

Cultural Hierarchy and Processes of Control 83

The Specifi city of Eastern and Western Grids 85

Positional Superiority, Thought Systems, and Other Cultures 87

Ways of Seeing and Comparing East and West 88

The Controlling Role of Ideas 96

The Use of Revolution in Gender Control 98

Multiple Systems of Female Subordination 102

Colonialism, Development, Religion, and Gender Control 107

Conclusion: The Need to Separate Identities 110

5 Corporate Fundamentalism: Constructing Childhood in the United States and Elsewhere 120

Introduction 120

Manufacturing Culture Bit by Bit 122

Fundamentalisms: Corporate and Religious 126

Marketing and Children: The United States 131

Drugs, Commercialism, and the Biomedical Paradigm: An American Example 137

When Corporate Profits and Education Meet: The Educational Testing Industry 140

Fundamentalisms: Economic, Religious, Political 141

Back to Corporate Fundamentalism: Future Directions 144

6 Culture and the Seeds of Nonviolence in the Middle East 151

Introduction 151

Disharmonic Westernization and Pilgrimage 154

Between the Stereotype and Reality 157

Little Worlds in the International Grip 161

Culture and Nonviolence: Who Stands to Gain From Peace? 165

Dignity Becomes Reality 168

7 Normative Blindness and Unresolved Human Rights Issues: The Hypocrisy of Our Age 175

Introduction 175

Early Constraints 176

Unresolved Issues 178

A Nonstate Human Rights Effort 183

Health and Human Rights 186

Human Rights and Commercialism 191

Concluding Remarks 193

8 Breaking the Silence: Politics and Professional Autonomy 197

Introduction 197

Silence and Dominant Hegemonies 198

Desensitization 204

Mistakes Repeated in the Iraq Invasion 206

9 Lessons 212

Lessons Learned 212

Strategies of Subordination In Reverse 216

Macro–histories 221

Appendix 226

Index 230

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This kind of work needs more deliberation in the academic world and it is a delight for practitioners who are interested in radicalising the discipline and practice of anthropology.  Since the book eschews technical language of the specialist, it is equally accessible to the nonspecialist reader.   (Journal of Intercultural Studies, 1 January 2015)

The book is written in an engaging and highly accessible manner. Although it would have benefited from a deeper differentiated discussion of cultural dignity and what it means in this world that Nader paints, Culture and dignity is a thought–provoking exercise in the kind of connections we need to make for an anthropology committed to a more honest and robust knowledge of the Middle East and the world.   (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1 January 2014)

Drawing from an eclectic sample of literature dealing with the global connections between the Middle East and the West, the author achieves a much needed and very timely intellectual check–up and warns us against cultural framings that serve to side–line serious explorations of the roots and nature of human suffering. It is crucial for all those of us who are genuinely concerned with peace to liberate our imaginations from the myths and stereotypes that work to divide us.   (Studies in Ethnicity And Nationalism, 15 October  2013)

The collection reflects the many lasting contributions Nader has made to understanding and improving the human condition. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.   (Choice, 1 July 2013)

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