The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Sep 14, 1993 - History - 348 pages
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This wide-ranging examination of Arab society and culture offers a unique opportunity to know the Arab world from an Arab point of view. Halim Barakat, an expatriate Syrian who is both scholar and novelist, emphasizes the dynamic changes and diverse patterns that have characterized the Middle East since the mid-nineteenth century. The Arab world is not one shaped by Islam, nor one simply explained by reference to the sectarian conflicts of a "mosaic" society. Instead, Barakat reveals a society that is highly complex, with many and various contending polarities. It is a society in a state of becoming and change, one whose social contradictions are at the root of the struggle to transcend dehumanizing conditions. Arguing from a perspective that is both radical and critical, Barakat is committed to the improvement of human conditions in the Arab world.
  

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Contents

Social and Political Integration Alternative Visions of the Future
3
Historical Context
6
Conclusion
10
Arab Society Basic Characteristic Features
12
Some Methodological Observations
13
Some Characteristic Features of Arab Society
15
Basics of the Physical Setting Demography and Ecology
27
Conclusion
31
Religions as Mechanisms of Control Instigation and Reconciliation
129
The Interrelationship between Religion and Other Social Institutions
131
Religion and the State Secularism versus Theocracy
137
Alienation from and in Religion
143
Transformation or Conformity?
145
Conclusion
146
Arab Politics Its Social Context
148
The Starting Point of Analysis
150

Arab Identity E pluribus unum
32
The Arab Sense of Belonging
33
Shared Culture and Its Variations
41
The Place of Arabs in History and Their Common Experiences
43
Shared Economic Interests
44
External Challenges and Political Unity
45
Conclusion
46
The Continuity of Old Cleavages Tribe Village City
48
The Bedouin Way of Life
49
The Peasantry and the Village
54
Urbanization of Society
61
Nature of the Relationships between Tribe Village and City
65
Conclusion
69
SOCIAL STRUCTURES AND INSTITUTIONS OUT OF ONE MANY
71
Social Classes Beyond the Mosaic Model
73
The Emerging Arab Economic Order
75
Bases of Class Distinction and Formation
81
Basic Classes in Contemporary Arab Society
87
Class Consciousness and Class Struggle
94
Conclusion
95
The Arab Family and the Challenge of Change
97
Marriage and Divorce Patterns
107
The Family and Society
116
Conclusion
118
Religion in Society
119
The Sociology of Islam
120
The Social Origins of Religion
122
Religion and Sect
124
Official versus Folk or Popular Religion
125
The Politics of the Traditional Urban Big Bourgeoisie
153
Western Liberalism Nationalism Arab Socialism and Religious Fundamentalism
161
The Working Classes and the Left
172
The Authoritarian Nature of the Arab Systems
175
The Crisis of Civil Society
177
THE DYNAMICS OF ARAB CULTURE
179
National Character and Value Orientations
181
The Question of National Character
182
Arab Value Orientations
190
Conclusion
204
Creative Expression Society and Literary Orientations
206
Orientations in Arabic Literature
210
Novels of Reconciliation
211
Novels of Exposure
216
Novels of Revolutionary Change
229
Conclusion
238
Arab Thought Problems of Renewal Modernity and Transformation
239
Arab Thought in the Formative Period 18501914
242
Arab Thought and the Struggle for National Independence 19181945
251
Researching the Roots of Disaster
256
Conclusion
265
THE CRISIS OF CIVIL SOCIETY APPROACHING THE HORIZON OF THE TWENTYFIRST CENTURY
267
Conclusion
269
Visions for the Future
277
Notes
285
Glossary
313
Select Bibliography
317
Index
327
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Halim Barakat is Research Professor at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and author of "Lebanon in Strife" (1979). His several novels in Arabic are widely read in the Middle East. Two novels, "Days of Dust" and "Six Days" (1983 and 1990), have been translated into English.

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