Culture and Dignity: Dialogues Between the Middle East and the West
November 2012, ©2013, Wiley-Blackwell
- Outlines an anthropology for the 21st century that focuses on the myriad connections between peoples—especially the critical intercultural dialogues between the cultures of the East and the West
- Takes an historical and ethnographic approach to studying the intermingling of Arab peoples and the West.
- Demonstrates how cultural exchange between the East and West is a two-way process
- Presents an anthropological perspective on issues such as religious fundamentalism, the lives of women and children, notions of violence and order
1 Introduction 1
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
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
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
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
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
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
Silence and Dominant Hegemonies 198
Mistakes Repeated in the Iraq Invasion 206
9 Lessons 212
Lessons Learned 212
Strategies of Subordination – In Reverse 216
“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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