Ethnic and Area Studies

  • Uncategorized

Ethnicand Area Studies

Howhas the modernization and growth of urban populations intoincreasingly large and complex mega-cities had an effect on localcultures? How has the family been affected? How have cities beenaffected?

Itis evident that modernization and the increase of the urbanpopulations have significantly affected the social structures directfrom the culture to the family level. The impacts are more felt inthe social domain than in the commercial areas. Transformations rangefrom the duties within the family, the demographic organization, thenature of responsibilities and the mechanism that individuals use inchoosing whom they want to live with. The domestic roles within thefamily have undergone modification and the aspects of personal andcultural responsibilities redefined.

Mostcultures have taken up the western ways in what is referred to aswesternization. The traditional beliefs, ethics, and morals have beeneroded. The ancient religious practices, traditional ceremonies, andrituals have been dropped. Most of the local cultures are becomingextinct.

Thefamily setup has been equally affected. The status of the family hasdeclined. Nontraditional features have found space in the households.This trend can be attributed to increased diversity and autonomy ofindividual’s choices of living. The labor structures within thefamily have also been interrupted. The cities are also facing a lotof challenges despite the developments. The increase in crime rate,inadequate social amenities, prostitution, slums, HIV/AIDS pandemicand other social problems have raised concerns among the welfarestakeholders.

Ethnicity:(15 points)

Howis ethnicity a fluid and reinvented concept in the Middle East, asseen in the article by Hosham Dawod, Ethnicity and Power: SomeReflections on Ethnic Definitions and Boundaries?

Ethnicityis used to refer to an identity group which in most cases is a groupproduct of history. In the Middle East, ethnicity has always beenbased on the language, the religion, the lifestyle of theindividuals, similar shared history regarding suffering and thepersecutions, the economic activities or integration of the factorsor other unique concepts. The modern way of identifying the MiddleEast diverse ethnic cultures basing on their language element is notonly faulty but also a misleading assertion. In fact, the currentturmoil experienced could leave one puzzled if they were to assumethat all the ethnic groups in the region were all Arabic and had asimilar ethnic background and identity. The context within thisregion keeps on changing from time to time. For instance, the Arabsin Afghanistan have been speaking Persian for over a millennium now(Panayiotides, 2015). They have also lived with individuals who speakthe same language and have the same religious alignment for centuriesand still celebrate their Arabic identity. On the language, they arenot Arabs. This idea indicates that not everyone in the Middle Eastthat speaks Arabic is of Arabic ethnicity and those that speakPersian are of ethnic Persian. The pervasive “Arabist” wave thathas blown in the Middle East for has glossed the region with new andthe large stamp of the utopian Arabic ethnicity.

Gender:(20 points)

Whatdoes the veil signify in Middle Eastern cultures? Can it/has it meantdifferent things? Explain its changing significance in politicaldiscussions.

Theveil is worn by Islamic women when they are away from their immediatefamilies and in the presence of men. The head and the chest of theladies are fully by the garment. It also describes any form ofclothing that covers the body of Islamic women for them to conform tothe modesty standards. The veil’s primary purpose was modesty. Itwas also used to distinguish men from women and to controlunnecessary sexual desires. Apart from that, it was also a sign ofclass status. In the past, only wealthy women could afford to put iton and cover their entire bodies. Those from poor backgrounds mainlypeasants that worked in the field were forced to modify their veilsor even at a time did not have them. Before the 9/11 attacks, no onewas bothered or took note of Islamic veils. However, politicaldiscussions and views have drastically changed after a series ofterror attacks that are attributed to Islamic radical groups. Thehijab has been reduced to a symbol of indoctrination and radicalthoughts. It is perceived to be the main outfit and symbol of theIslamic world and extremism.


Discussthe Ottoman collapse and the creation of modern nation states in theMiddle East. What current socio-political problems can be traced tothese events? Explain.

TheArabic world had never enjoyed freedom since the 16th Centuryconquest of the Ottoman Turks. Up to the World War I the largerpercentage of the Arab world fell under the Ottoman Empire. Onlyparts of within the colonial territories thanks to the then shrinkingOttoman Empire. The Arabs always yearned to be independent. Ethnicconsciousness did not spark violent movements only in Europe but alsoin the Middle East (Panayiotides, 2015). Individuals within theregion desired to realize their national visions. This trend played acritical role in the events of the 20th Century.

Thedesire to have an independent Arab world compelled them to side withthe British troops in suppressing the Muslim Turks. They vowed to beloyal only if they will be granted independence after the victory.The end of the World War 1 was the end of the old rule and a start ofmodern nations.

Unfortunately,the expectations of a unified and stable Arab world did notmaterialize. In fact, the void that was left by the Ottoman rule wastaken up by Western powers. They divided the area according to theirself-interest. The boundaries resulted in long-term social, politicaland economic chaos to date.


Panayiotides,N. (2015). The Islamic state and the redistribution of power in theMiddle East. InternationalJournal on World Peace,32(3),11-24.