Focussing on one of the assigned chapters for this week (Chapter 3, Reproduction or Chapter 5, Honor and Shame), discuss how the stories show how each of these institutions (norms around reproduction; the honor and shame norms) are reproduced in everyday practices. How are the women in the book also challenging or reframing these institutions through their practices? How do these women express their agency?
How do the stories in this chapter engage with the anthropological assumptions about “patrilineality.” In what ways is patrilineality practiced in this Bedouin community? In what ways it do the stories of the chapter challenge the assumptions about how patrilineality is practiced?
How does the introduction to this book reframe questions in anthropology about studies of the Mediterranean, honor and shame, and women in general?
How does Schneider define the concept of honor and shame in the Mediterranean? How does this code of ethic and institution of social control play out in pastoral communities around the Mediterranean?What are some of the characteristics of these pastoral communities; how does ecology play a role in their social institutions?
The readings this week synthesize three different approaches to the anthropology of the Mediterranean. Briefly describe each “face” of the Mediterranean. Which one is most compelling to you?
You may answer one set of questions
(chapter 5) How does Braudel discuss social change in medieval Mediterranean? What are some social groups that emerge in the Mediterranean societies east and west, north and south in the 16th century? What are some analogies across the different regions?
(chapter 6) How does Braudel define the relationship between the two worlds (the Christian and Muslim worlds) in 16th century Mediterranean? How do these worlds differ? How doe they intertwine? What is the role of the anecdote in the lessons of social history?
Social historian Fernand Braudel provides a sweeping social history of the Mediterranean region. Unlike other forms of social history, Braudel’s begins with geography and further, in chapter 1, with the mountains and plains then, in chapter 2, with the sea. How are geographic characteristics of the Mediterranean region discussed in these chapters in relation to culture and society? What are some cultural and social features of Mediterranean societies outlined in these chapters?
Purity and honor, particularly of women, seems to be a common theme amongst most societies. However, the Mediterranean seems to take it farther than others, at least in the past. In the Mediterranean, a family’s honor is based around the women of the family. Whatever she does reflects back onto the men in the family. This systems is part of the reason why the Mediterranean is considered to have “cultural continuity” rather than a separation of traditions. It is interesting to see that most economic structures are based around honor and shame, especially in the pastoral societies talked about in this paper. It would be interesting to compare the impacts of honor and shame on Mediterranean society and on possibly Asian or Western societies.
Olive oil is a much more complex topic than I would have guessed. The mythology of how the Greeks got olive oil from Athena was quite interesting. Olive oil has been around for a very long time, therefore it has a deep history associated with it. The point of olive oil being a “sexy fat” and in favor of culinary experts was something I never would have thought about. Having the tasting helped back up some of the claims being made in this article. It helped kind of put two and two together to get the whole picture. I wonder though, will global warming reduce or completely kill off olive oil? And if this happens, what will be the repercussions?
In Paul Silversteins essay, he delves into the concepts and contradictions of minority politics. His essay begins with a brief description of King Mohammed VI’s promulgation of a new Moroccan Constitution which identified Morocco as a secular state in which all ethnicities and religions are equal and protected by law. This new constitution which was intended to satisfy previous protests of social injustices still left many questions for Moroccans as to the true degree of secularism in the state. Paul Silverstein uses the term faustian bargain, an agreement in which a person sets a side their own spiritual or moral values in order to obtain wealth or other benefits. In principle, this seems clear enough. My question is however, can a state truly become autonomous of any religious influence. In the ethnographic references which Silverstein provides, there is still some religious leaning in each case. States the claim to be secular, such as the United States are in fact still partly governed by the religion. In the US, Protestant Christian values influence basic political decisions such as the legality of contraception and abortion as well as the aid of fellow citizens. It can hardly go without notice that a non-Christian person has never served as president of the United States. Morocco is heavily populated by Muslims and of course Islam is prominent within the government so can legislation be passed without leaning towards Islamic values. Can other minorities truly be represented?