Lila Abu-Lughod’s Writing Women’s Worlds Chapters1-3

I agree with the other posts that this book was rather enjoyable. Her choice of storytelling instead of a more analytic and critical ethnography book makes the material very approachable. One of the other things I noticed regarding her methods was how she mentions herself quite frequently whether to let the reader know the stories were in answer to her questions, when she uncomfortable, how she integrated into the Bedouin’s lives and also just talking about how she got people to talk about these issues.  This was very interesting to me, seeing her life as an Anthropologist. The visit she describes of the more “modern” woman and her husband’s visit and the subsequent dinner at their mansion made me think of the dramatic difference in lives. The Anthropologist’s life in America and her life in the Bedouin’s camp. I wonder how long it took for her to feel more comfortable in their tents than in a fine home.

One of the interesting parts of this ethnography no one else has mentioned yet is the impact of WW2 on the Bedouin communities. I knew of course that the British and Germans fought in N. Africa but I had never thought to think about how this affected the citizens outside the urban areas. WW1 is more often spoken about regarding these matters, I think. The stories of the constant migration of camps and the difference in materials available was very interesting. Even more educational however was the realization that the county was left littered with bombs and scrap metal. I wonder how desperate and hopeful someone would have to be to dig bombs out of the ground and burn them for money.The story of Mignim’s son was enlightening on this matter, English Bedouin relations and also the difference in perspective of individuals, mother and son. The way the English officer was seen by Migdim and her son was very interesting. I would assume that if my boy had just been injured by a bomb in our country left by other, I probably wouldn’t like their soldiers. Of course, I understand the gratitude of saving his life by Migdim’s and her family’s response was different. I can’t quite put my finger on what though. The stories depth however lied in the two very different tellings. Her son being concerned with his father and the Englishman and his father. His mother barely mentioned whereas to Migdim the only thing of importance was her son, his story was about the virtue of the British. I still do not completely understand why. 

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