Tournaments of Value: Sociability and Hierarchy in a Yemeni Town
Published: August 2016© 2016
264 Pages, 6.00 x 8.95 x 0.60 in
A significant contribution to our understanding of the varied experience of women in the Islamic Middle East, Tournaments of Value gives a careful description of a world of female socializing, and the velocity, energy, and elaborateness of this remarkable female social world.
Meneley’s data challenges assumptions about the cross-cultural validity of a division between household and community, between domestic and public domains. She demonstrates the fluidity of social life, the shifting nature of community organization, and in doing so provides a welcome counterpoint to more rigid formulations of Middle Eastern social structure usually expressed in ethnographies.
Tournaments of Value incorporates vignettes to illustrate more analytical points and to enliven the text, allowing the reader to enter fully into the rich world of Zabid in Yemen. This expanded 20th anniversary edition introduces this seminal work on Middle Eastern ethnography and women’s studies to a new generation of readers.
- Going Out in Zabid
- Tournaments of Value
- The Bayt: Family and Household
- Achieving Virtue through Modesty
- Distinction and Display in the Visiting Scene
- Moments of Consequence: Weddings and Mourning Ceremonies
- Personhood, Emotion, and Hierarchy
- Moral Worth and Piety in Everyday Life
- Conclusion: The Rise and Fall of Families
‘Still unsurpassed as an ethnography of the power and grace of women’s social worlds in an Arab society.’Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor, Columbia University and author of 'Do Muslim Women Need Saving?'
Tournaments of Value is a masterful analysis of women’s sociality in the Middle East. Through rich ethnography, Meneley transports readers into the complex mechanics of weddings and visiting rituals in a Yemeni town. She brilliantly shows how these are key political spaces, where hierarchies of class, age, gender, and geography are created and contested.Jessica Winegar, Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Chair, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University