Anthropological Reconceptions in Precarious Times
Published by: Indiana University Press
Arab Masculinities provides a groundbreaking analysis of Arab men's lives in the precarious aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings. It challenges received wisdoms and entrenched stereotypes about Arab men, offering new understandings of rujula, or masculinity, across the Middle East and North Africa.
The 10 individual chapters of the book foreground the voices and stories of Arab men as they face economic precarity, forced displacement, and new challenges to marriage and family life. Rich in ethnographic details, they illuminate how men develop alternative strategies of affective labor, how they attempt to care for themselves and their families within their local moral worlds, and what it means to be a good son, husband, father, and community member.
Arab Masculinities sheds light on the most private spaces of Arab men's lives—offering stories that rarely enter the public realm. It is a pioneering volume that reflects the urgent need for new anthropological scholarship on men and masculinities in a changing Middle East.
Introduction: Middle East Anthropology and the Gender Divide: Reconceiving Arab Masculinity in Precarious Times, by Marcia C. Inhorn and Konstantina Isidoros
Part I. Masculinity and Precarity: Class Conflict and Economic Indignity
1. Egyptian Middle-Class Masculinity and its Working-Class Others, by Bård Helge Kårtveit
2. Al-Ustura ("The Legend"): Folk Hero or Thug? Class and Contested Masculinity in Egypt, by Jamie Furniss
3. Al-Hogra—A State of Injustice: Portraits of Moroccan Men in Search of Dignity and Piety in the Informal Economy, by Hsain Ilahiane
Part II. Masculinity and Displacement: Moving, Settling, and Questions of Belonging
4. Repeating Manhood: Migration and the Unmaking of Men in Morocco, by Alice Elliot
5. "I Am a Good Man—I'm a Gardener!": Arab Migrant Fathers' Reactions to Mistrusted Masculinity in Denmark, by Anne Hovgaard Jørgensen
6. Doing Gender in Shatila Refugee Camp: Palestinian Lads, Their Pigeons, and an Ethnographer, by Gustavo Barbosa
7. Welcoming Ban Ki-Moon: From Warrior-Nomads to Sahrawi Refugee-Statesmen in North Africa, by Konstantina Isidoros
Part III. Masculinity and Familial Futures: Sex, Marriage, and Fatherhood under Threat
8. Desiring the Nation: Masculinity, Marriage, and Futurity in Lebanon, by Sabiha Allouche
9. Masculinity under Siege: The Use of Narcotic Pain Relievers to Restore Virility in Egypt, by L. L. Wynn
10. Palestinian Sperm-Smuggling: Fatherhood, Political Struggle, and Israeli Prisons, by Laura Ferrero
This is an absorbing collective achievement that moves us beyond exhausted truisms about Arab men and patriarchy. With attentiveness each chapter tells us something truly new about how Muslim and Christian Arab men navigate uncertainties as they juggle desires and burdens in their lives. The volume is a valuable resource for teaching the anthropology of gender, sexuality, and family in the Arab world.~Nefissa Naguib, University of Oslo.
A long-overdue and strikingly rich ethnographic insight into the under-researched field of the emerging challenges Arab men face to their masculinity. The authors meticulously explore the changing dynamics of Arab men's engagement with work, family, the state, displacement and the world around them. The book is essential reading for all of those interested in the wider issue of cultural responses provoked when societies find their identities under threat.~Soraya Tremayne, University of Oxford
Arab Masculinities provides rich empirical data and deeply incisive perspectives on what it takes—and what it means—to achieve and maintain manhood among a broad cross-section of Arab communities in today's increasingly fraught, polarized, and precarious world. The chapters address a diverse set of topics and are elegantly crafted, theoretically sophisticated, and altogether compelling. The collection will be welcomed by experts in the field and has great potential for use in the classroom; it is a stunning achievement.~Michael G. Peletz, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, Emory University
Isidoros and Inhorn have edited a remarkable volume and I applaud them and all of their authors for the invaluable insights that are advanced in this book. For far too long, Middle East Studies has explored questions surrounding gender only in relation to women in the region, and the analysis of masculinity in the field is much more recent. Arab Masculinities is a welcome response to the urgent need for more scholarship in this domain. The authors model the best of contemporary and cutting-edge research at the intersection of anthropology, masculinity studies, and the greater Middle East. Drawing upon fieldwork in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and beyond, these authors demonstrate how masculine subjectivities in the region are shaped not only by economic and political conditions, but also by social transformations at the level of the individual, family, and broader society. The men at the center of these ethnographies challenge preconceived notions about how they relate to the women in their lives and how they perform their gender in the face of stress, hopes, fears, and dreams. As a result, Arab Masculinities is a rich, groundbreaking, and nuanced collection that gives voice to the emergent masculinities that are charting the future of the Middle East and North Africa.~Sa'ed Atshan, Swarthmore College