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Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories(1993)

 
지은이 : Lila Abu-Lughod
출판사 : California
판수 : first edition
페이지수 : 266
ISBN : 0520083040
예상출고일 : 입금확인후 2일 이내
주문수량 :
도서가격 : 27,500원
적립금 : 825 Point
     

 
In 1978 Lila Abu-Lughod climbed out of a dusty van to meet members of a small Awlad 'Ali Bedouin community. Living in this Egyptian Bedouin settlement for extended periods during the following decade, Abu-Lughod took part in family life, with its moments of humor, affection, and anger. She witnessed striking changes, both cultural and economic, and she recorded the stories of the women. Writing Women's Worlds is Abu-Lughod's telling of those stories; it is also about what happens in bringing the stories to others. As the new teller of these tales Abu-Lughod draws on anthropological and feminist insights to construct a critical ethnography. She explores how the telling of these stories challenges the power of anthropological theory to render adequately the lives of others and the way feminist theory appropriates Third World women. Writing Women's Worlds is thus at once a vivid set of stories and a study in the politics of representation.
Lila Abu-Lughod is Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (California, 1986) and the co-editor, with C. Lutz, of Language and the Politics of Emotion (1990).
"A different kind of ethnography, one in which the texture and richness of individual lives are vividly conveyed. . . . Abu-Lughod has demonstrated with great effectiveness that anthropology does not have to emphasize the divisions between us and everybody else; it is equally capable of drawing attention to our common humanity." -- New York Times Book Review

"In Writing Women's Worlds, Bedouin women are the narrators of their own lives; they are not the subjects or objects of ideas projected by the ethnographer's imagination. . . . This will be an important work in the field of international feminist studies for some time to come. . . . An excellent effort to 'decolonize' a people in writing and to alter the usual preconceived ideas the Western reader brings to studies of Arabs and Muslim women." -- Women's Review of Books
"This book gives intimate details of the events most important to the women involved-- family dynamics, marriage, childbirth, and so forth. Because Ms. Abu-Lughod seems to have become almost a member of the family, the book reads like an insider's rather than outsider's account. It is affectionate without becoming sentimental or lacking in objectivity. "

"In the preface to the new edition, Lila Abu-Lughod confesses that her book failed to reach its public. It was "billed as a book about women and an experiment in feminist ethnography", and its key messages failed to pass through. In any case, she may have tried to kill too many birds with one stone. As she recalls, "in Writing Women's Worlds, I used the narratives, arguments, and everyday lives of some individual families living on Egypt's northwest coast to try to do three things: to confront my discipline of anthropology with the ways it has tended to typify cultural groups, to challenge public discourse about women of the Muslim Middle East, and to show Western feminists that defining patriarchy is not at all a simple matter."

The three imagined audiences implied in that statement--fellow anthropologists, writers about women in the Middle East, and Western feminists--broadly belong to the same group: academics, to use a shorthand. It is this targeted public that the book failed to reach, eliciting few reviews and even less scholarly debate. So the author feels compelled, in the new preface written "for the twenty-first century", to restate and to clarify her key messages.

She thinks that what Writing Women's Worlds has to offer has become all the more urgent in the new context within which these intended audiences might now read a book like this. Anthropologists should discard the concept of culture as they did with the notion of race because "the concept lends itself to usages so apparently corrupting of the anthropological ones as the pernicious theses of Samuel Huntington's clash of civilizations". In light of the heightened obsession with the "oppressed Muslim woman", in the name of which wars are wielded as in Afghanistan, she feels it is her duty to give voice to some of these Muslim women, and to illustrate "what Islam means in one particular place at one particular time". Although sympathetic to the feminist cause, she refuses to attribute to the women in her book forms of consciousness or politics that are not part of their experience, and she thinks that their stories of family, honor, piety and modesty, can "complicate" some widely held views and "talk back" to feminists and their agenda.

So in Lila Abu-Lughod's view, shared by the editors of the University of California Press, her book deserves a second chance. The spirits of the times, which highlight the urgency of the message, are also more auspicious to its reception. The novel style, which the author labels "narrative ethnography", has since then become more common in anthropology. Other scholars, such as Saba Mahmood or Lara Deeb, have written books about the islamic revival that also "talk back" to the feminist agenda, which too often conflates description and prescription. And Abu-Lughod's thinking has also evolved, allowing her to be more explicit and specific about arguments that were only hinted at and suggested in her original narrative.

But books, once published, have a life of their own, and they sometimes reach unintended publics or are put to uses the author did not think about. In her new preface, Lila Abu-Lughod tells of the many e-mails she received from readers, mostly students, who wanted to know what happened to the individuals they had come to know through the book. These readers were not primarily interested by discussions about feminism, ethnographic writing, or the concept of culture. They read the book as they would have a fiction or a documentary, and they were eager to learn what happened "in real life". This tendency is sometimes seen by some writers as problematic, because of the need to protect the private life of people who confided to the ethnographer from voyeurism.

In a way, the author had already anticipated that concern. She notes that "in a sad way the women whose stories I retell here are not the audience of this book"; and yet she is preoccupied with the reception of her writings in Egypt and in the local community depicted in the book. She worries that she has "made public the narratives that women told only to specific others and has made permanent what was meant to be fleeting". She notes that "In an age when the boundaries of "culture" have become difficult to keep in place, when books travel, and when global politics appear increasingly uncertain, we have to anticipate the uncomfortable irony that our most enlightened endeavors might not be received as such by the subjects of our writings". And indeed in the preface written in 2007, she records a meeting with a young woman related to her host family who was studying sociology in Alexandria University and who grilled her with questions and comments. "

"I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the development of women in Islam in Africa. The book portrays anthropological and feminist insights to construct a critical ethnography. Furthermore, it explores the difficulties that women in developing countries must face on a daily basis. Other than this, I received the book within of week of my purchase and the book was in excellent condition; I would recomment this seller to anyone. "
   
 
   
 
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