The Exotic in the Suburbs of Beirut

in An Invitation to Laughter

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226434766
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226434759 | DOI:
The Exotic in the Suburbs of Beirut

Show Summary Details


In 1969, the author obtained a two-year research grant from the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut to do fieldwork in two suburbs of Beirut. His interest in the suburbs grew out of his research on rural-to-urban migration from two Lebanese villages, which in turn grew out of his research on the Lebanese immigrants in West Africa. By the turn of the twentieth century, emigration had become the primary subject of discussion in every Lebanese family. Migrants went in two directions: overseas and to the coastal cities of Lebanon, especially Beirut. To complete his study on migration, the author had to focus on those who settled in Beirut. It is commonly believed that anthropology focuses on the exotic in other cultures. Much like the art of tracing genealogies and family origins, witchcraft and fortune-telling exotically engage large parts of the suburban communities in Beirut, especially women. The author's firsthand experience with fortune-tellers in Beirut took place when his car was stolen a few years earlier.

Keywords: American University of Beirut; Lebanon; Beirut; migration; anthropology; genealogies; fortune-telling; research

Chapter.  4190 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.