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Traditional MENA Social Structure Social Ecology of Family Relations and Psychological Development.

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Presentation on theme: "Traditional MENA Social Structure Social Ecology of Family Relations and Psychological Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Traditional MENA Social Structure Social Ecology of Family Relations and Psychological Development

2 Traditional MENA Social Org Tribal? Segmentary lineages? Social classes? Feudal?

3 Traditional MENA Social Org Symbiosis: Pastoralism Agriculture City-based crafts & merchants + rulers & religious scholars

4 Tribal Society? Self-governing groups –Beyond reach of government –“Submit” to government & pay “tax” Nomadic pastoralists – “bedouin” –Herd camels, sheep, goats –Have “client” groups of farmers & craftsmen Transhumants Agriculturalists

5 Bedouin camp -- Arabia

6 Bedouin camp -- Iran

7 Bedouin camp


9 Berber nomads, Morocco 1985


11 Herding camp, Morocco, 1987


13 Herding camp, Morocco 1986


15 Herding camp Morocco 1987

16 Tribes in Arab-Muslim Societies Struggle between tribes and states –Still in Pakistan & Afghanistan Contrast of urban & rural ways of life –Ibn Khaldun: “civilization” vs. “solidarity” Raiding and feuding –Every man a warrior –Culture celebrating heroic deeds Tribesmen migrated into cities

17 Tribal Social Organization “segmentary lineage system” –E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer, 1930s Lineage: group of families descended from common ancestor –Patrilineage: traced through male line –Matrilineage: traced through female line  we have bilateral kindred system

18 Segmentary Lineage System Nuclear families nested within extended Extended families nested within lineages –genealogical links sometimes traceable Lineages nested within clans –genealogical links not traceable Clans nested within tribe or tribal “fractions”

19 Segmentary Lineage System  “Clan”  Lineage  Extended family  Nuclear family

20 Evans-Pritchard Thesis Shifting balance of feuding and fusing segments  Order and stability without government

21 Tamzrit: 75 households 7 “lineages” 4 “clans”

22 Tamzrit



25 Arab / MENA Tribes: Segmentary but not really segmentary!


27 Michael Meeker: Magritte on the Bedouins

28 Segmentary Lineages 1.Mental map of social structure 2.Ideology -- often distorts real relationships 3.Map & ideology: sketches potential relationships people can build, and claims they can make on each other

29 Segmentary Lineages 1.Model only approximated 2.Not all kinsmen included 3.Some / many non-kin included: patron-client networks 4.Ties deliberately built across kin groups

30 Segmentary Lineages 5. Model more likely actualized in absence of gov’t control “If there’s a crisis, you’ll see the lineages emerge.”  re-created by militia groups & in chaos: Lebanese, Algerian, Iraqi civil wars; Afghanistan, Libya?  can appear “tribal”

31 Marriage & Family in traditional MENA societies

32 Marriages Arranged Many pre-industrial societies arrange marriages (Especially agricultural Eurasia: Europe, MENA, India, China) Marriage is relationship between families, not necessarily two young people in love Most lineage-based societies practice lineage / clan exogamy

33 Marriage Rules: Exogamy Levi-Strauss: Men exchange & circulate women  Builds solidarity among lineages / clans Cross-cousin (MBD or FSD) preferred or required; parallel cousin prohibited & viewed as “incest”

34 Kinship Diagrams married children malefemale siblings

35 Exogamous M.B.D. Marriage ego M B D Cross-cousins

36 Endogamous F.B.D. Marriage ego B ? ? Parallel cousins F ? D

37 Marriage Rules: MENA “Close marriage” -- endogamous parallel cousin (FBD) preferred but not majority of marriages cross-cousin (MDB) O.K. 2 nd or 3 rd cousins O.K.  Patrilineal families / households also look matrilineal from the inside

38 Patriliny and Matriliny ego B ? ? Parallel cousins F ? D

39 Arranged Marriages Traditionally: marriages arranged to create or cement relationships between families Girls (and boys) may be forced to marry strangers or people they dislike Men usually 5 – 10 years older Girls often 14 to 17

40 Effects of Endogamy Weaker cross-kin segment bonds? Strengthens within-kin segment bonds  greater fission & feuding? Creates matrilineal kinship network within patrilineal  strengthens hsld women’s solidarity?

41 Traditional Marriage Strategies Marry up in wealth & status Marry close – conserve property & status –Endogamous parallel cousin FBD preferred –Children may prefer these Alliance marriages: link distant families Result: officially patrilineal, but matrifocal

42 Traditional Marriage Strategies Father / patriarch may choose and has final say Mother acts as family agent & scouts behind scenes –May consult with son or daughter –Kids may prefer cousins or kin they know High status & wealthy families follow rules more closely

43 What of romantic love? Recognized & celebrated in tragic literature and folktales Seen as fickle, undependable Different from love that grows from years of marriage –“heart” love vs. “liver” love

44 Divorce Frequent in many areas –Failure to have child within 2 years –Mistreatment by husband or in-laws Women “leave” inheritance with brothers, in case she’s divorced 2 nd marriages less formal; woman may have greater say

45 Family / Kin group: “Patronymic Association” “People of…” “Descendents of…” “House of…”  big extended family  little lineage

46 Patronymic Association Basic unit of traditional social organization –pastoralist camping group –adjoining households in village –neighborhood or alley in urban quarter Lineage-like, but… –Does NOT include many families & members –DOES include “clients” treated as if family –Fuzzy, fluid, & shifting boundaries

47 Patronymic Association Kin terms, etiquettes, and feelings extended to non-kin patrons and clients Family-kin relationships not fixed by genealogy, but negotiated – as if patron- client relationships Key to traditional MENA social org: networks of face-to-face kin-based and kin-like patron-client relationships

48 Patron-Client Relations Reciprocity system: –gift & counter-gift – shifting imbalance maintains mutual indebtedness Family / kin idiom & etiquettes: –Patron – like father or uncle -- dominates, protects & may promote –Client – like son or nephew – subordinates self, receives protection, maybe promotion

49 Patron-Client Relations Exchanges of gifts & favors: Traditional reciprocity system? or: Corruption?

50 MENA Social Organization Segmentary – but not lineages (Magritte’s pipe !) Family-based – but not just nuclear (or even extended) families: patronymic association Strategy -- build strong entourage of kin & clients Family gender & age hierarchy extended to patron-client relations

51 Traditional MENA Social Org Fuad Khuri: “tents” rather than “pyramids” leader / entourage segments competition to be “first among equals”

52 “Modern” Social Organization Bureaucracies –Schools, companies, gov’t ministries Social classes –Elite, “populaire” & slum-dweller lifestyles State control –Monarchies, military dictatorships, one-party “presidencies” –Political parties & movements –Mukhabbarat -- secret police

53 “Modern” Social Organization Nuclear Families Fewer children Gender equality Individual choice of… –Spouse –Vocation –Lifestyle –Religiosity

54 “Modern” social organization “Modernity” Underdevelopment ( H. Sharabi: “neo-patriarchy” ) Tradition

55 “Modern” Social Organization Modernization & Underdevelopment + Cultural Dualities



58 Landmarks in Marrakech

59 Ramadan shopping in Alexandria at the Marilyn Monroe boutique

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