Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Lila Abu- Lughod: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society Lila Abu-Lughod is a Palestinian, American woman, who lived in the North West of Egypt among the Awlad Ali tribes for two years. In Egypt, Abu-Lughod studied gender relations and oral lyric poetry through which young men and women use to express their feelings…
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According to Abu- Lughod (17), Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society is one of the best ethnographies. He argues that the author has the ability to see past the stereotypes and catch-phrases that surround women in veils. In this book, Abu-Lughod has attempted to express the feelings of Islamic women who are viewed as voiceless. She has tried to show features of silence and veiling as expressions of cultural distinctions and identity, and how the western culture has influenced and managed to increase the isolation of veiled women in society. Moreover, Abu-Lughob studied the significance of honor with its association with the hierarchy and autonomy in the society. Thus, this book gives a clear answer to people who view Islamic women as voiceless. In this book, Abu-Lughob analyses that concepts of propriety, honor, and autonomy in the Bedouin society. The first half of the books talks about Awlad ‘Ali i.e. a tribe of Bedouin, finds expressions of attachment, longing and dependence, as well as affection and concern to the unsuitable and un-Bedouin-like (Abu- Lughod 38). Additionally, Abu-Lughob speaks of how sexuality is said to be highly dangerous because of its ability to induce improper emotions and disrupt the right hierarchies and relationships between the old and young, man and woman, and kin and non-kin. The rest of the book is quite emotional since it talks about how the Bedouins use poetry to express themselves and say what they cannot to say. They also use little songs called ghinawas to express longing or loss of something so that a person cannot be accused of breaching social protocol, and destroying the closely held honor code. In this section, Abu-Lughob analyses the significant role of poetry in the society that holds itself and follows strict codes of honor, as well as behavior standards (Abu- Lughod 67). Abu-Lughod did not carry out her field work from a superior position; rather she sympathized with her subjects and worked with them as equal human beings and not as specimens in a research. Her intelligence and attitude, along with her excellent analytical skills enabled her to develop proper understanding and insight of this intriguing culture. Her research involved mainly females from the Muslim community, although she was also able to access the male sphere during her observations of how men and women interacted. She reports that one of the main problems she encountered was when she had to play the role of an adopted daughter so as to participate, and interact with her subjects in research. Her duties included daily chores among other responsibilities as a female kinsperson; hence, she was able to evaluate gender roles in social studies (Abu- Lughod 80). This book has several reviews in which many people claim that it is one of the best ethnographies they have ever come across. The reviewers praised Abu-Lughob ability to see past the stereotypes that surround veiled women and her insights, which many social scientists and modern anthropologists are yet to discover. Additionally, the reviewers were astounded by Abu-Lughob's ability to give a direct answer to people who view Islamic women as voiceless by attempting to show aspects of veiling and silence as expressions of cultural distinctions and identity. Further studies in this research could include the submissiveness of women and not only in the Muslim
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