Abu-Lughod, Lila. Shifting politics in Bedouin love poetry

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Title: Shifting politics in Bedouin love poetry

Published in: Language and the politics of emotion, edited by Catherine Lutz and Lila Abu-Lughod

Published By: Language and the politics of emotion, edited by Catherine Lutz and Lila Abu-Lughod Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 24-45 p.

By line: Lila Abu-Lughod

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1999. Computer File

Culture: Libyan Bedouin (MT09)

Subjects: Acculturation and culture contact (177); Verbal arts (5310); Age stratification (561); Gender status (562); Ingroup antagonisms (578); Kin relationships (602); Sexuality (831);

Abstract: In this article Abu-Lughod critiques studies that treat emotions as sui generis and dissociated from their social context, by showing how Bedouin love poetry has changed with changes in the political economy. Love poetry has been a legitimate form of emotional expression in contrast to the stoicism of everyday discourse which is constrained by a code of honor. Furthermore it is an expression of romantic love and freedom by youth and women in defiance of an overbearing patriarchal culture with its emphasis on agnatic ties. With the settlement of the Bedouin and the state’s imposition of individual property rights, the power of tribal elders has increased. By 1985, it was mostly young men who sang and listened to poetry as a form of rebellion against their elders. According to Abu-Lughod, love poetry has always had a political context, challenging the authority of the patriarchal system, and giving expression to a coexistent egalitarian ethic. PLEASE NOTE: For the sake of readability, HRAF has removed the accents from characters that otherwise could not be displayed. See the original document for these characters.

Document Number: 11

Document ID: mt09-011

Document Type: essay

Language: English


Includes bibliographical references (p. 44-45)

Field Date: 1978-1987

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard; 1998

Coverage Date: 1985

Coverage Place: Western Desert, Egypt

LCSH: Bedouins


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