• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Friday, July 22, 2016

The persistence of communal cleavages "complicates rather than nullifies social class consciousness and struggle. This persistence of communal cleavages and vertical loyalties in some Arab countries is owing to the perpetuation of traditional systems in which communities are linked to their local za'ims (traditional leaders) through patron-client relationships. To the extent that constructive change can be introduced in these areas, such traditional systems will give way, increasingly, to other social and class relationships. 

"... Western functionalists ... view these communal cleavages as 'a premodern phenomenon, a residue of particularism and ascription incompatible with the trend toward achievement, universalism and rationality supposedly exhibited by industrial societies.' Western sociologists whose point of departure is a sociobiological paradigm have argued that ethnic and racial solidarity are extensions of kinship sentiments. For instance, Pierre van den Berghe asserts that there 'exists a general behavioral predisposition, in our species as in many others, to react favorably toward other organisms to the extent that these organisms are biologically related to the actor. The closer the relationship is, the stronger the preferential behavior.' He concludes, therefore, that 'ethnic solidarity is an extension of kin-based solidarity—that is, of nepotism.' But he realizes that as human societies grow, the boundaries of ethnicity become 'increasingly manipulated and perverted to other ends, including domination and exploitation.' I would argue, however, that just because ethnicity is more primordial than class does not mean that it is always more salient. As distinct principles of social organization, class and ethnicity interpenetrate in complex and varying ways. This interplay becomes one of the most difficult problems facing sociological analysis of complex societies. (My emphasis, N.M)

"Nevertheless, examination of the Arab situation in depth reveals a clearly pyramidal social class structure. This means that the majority of the people are relatively poor. The middle class, in turn, is significantly small in size. Wealth and power are concentrated in few hands. This kind of triangular class structure differs sharply from the diamond-shaped structure that indicates the presence in society of a significantly large middle class—the configuration for which Westerners interested in class analysis always look. In both structures, however, social class formations proceed from contradictory relationships and antagonistic interests." — Halim Barakat, The Arab Society, 1993.

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