Family in Contemporary Egypt

Family in Contemporary Egypt

Family in Contemporary Egypt

Family in Contemporary Egypt

Excerpt

Every book written is inevitably the personal expression of an author who feels both that the topic is significant and that certain insights may develop a deeper understanding of the subject. This book is no exception. Eighteen years of personal involvement with the Middle East, including thirteen years' residence in the area, have led me to a growing uneasiness over our Western myopia regarding Middle Eastern social systems. Our tendency to fit isolated facts into complicated theoretical superstructures and to assume that the emerging implications are as true for Eastern systems as they are for Western ones is dangerous and leads to numerous erroneous conclusions.

One of the fallacies that is at the base of this kind of reasoning is our assumption that all societies fundamentally believe in and derive their social behaviors as we do from a deep-seated faith in the individual and individualism. This is such a natural belief to Americans that they find it difficult to conceive of another world view that places corporateness of certain kinds ahead of individual interests and rights. This book is intended to challenge that view, to force us to face indigenous rationales, and to examine the implications of a social system based on fundamentally different values than our own.

The approach taken is a structural-functionalist one that seeks understanding of social systems through study of their sets of internally consistent social rules and principles. The ultimate test of their utility is how effectively they help a cultural group cope with its particular social and physical environment. The task of this book is to discover these organizing rules and principles and to investigate how they serve the interests of the human beings that manipulate them. Focusing on family is a conve-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.