Ambivalence towards Power

in The Culture of Islam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780226726137
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226726144 | DOI:
Ambivalence towards Power

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In Islamic cultures, and in the Arabic language, the inherent ambivalence of innumerable concepts is on full display. Single words often contain a proposition and its direct opposite, just as popular sayings and self-evident actions demonstrate the two-edged nature of many connections and associations. This chapter takes up the challenge of ambivalence to social science—once readily accepted but inappropriately abandoned in more recent decades—by considering the ambivalent attitudes and actions revealed in the daily lives of Moroccans. Whether it is in their approach to questions of gender, political authority, or saintly legitimacy, a common theme of ambivalence towards power runs through many of the cultural forms found in the Arab/Muslim world, and it is through such circumstantial instances as those presented here that one can, perhaps, comprehend the seeming contradictions by which power is brought within the ambit of everyday life.

Keywords: postcolonial Morocco; Islamic culture; gender; political authority; ambivalence; cultural forms; Arab world

Chapter.  8181 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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