Cultural Differences In Arab Cultures

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Arab culture is the commonality between Lewis, Barakat, and Hassib. Lewis talks about culture as a singular concept, stable and definable across an entire group. Barakat identifies culture as a defining factor in the perspectives of all Arab individuals. While each of these perspectives has a veracity, they also neglect to acknowledge the multiplicity of Arab identities and result in blindness to individuality that we can see in Rajia Hassib’s In the Language of Miracles.
The Arab World : Society, Culture, and State by Halim Isber Barakat discusses the history of the Arab nation including colonization which created structural separation resulting in a diverse economic situation. Despite this separation, there is a sense of loyalty towards the
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He then talks about how despite this individual perspective, there is a greater sense of community in being a part of the Arab community which implies that no matter what a person might think, it is ultimately their goal to be subservient to the desires of the larger community.
When Cultures Collide : Managing Successfully across Cultures by Richard D. Lewis talks about the values and traits of different cultures. Americans are forthright and direct about their intentions and needs. It talks about how these tendencies can cause conflict with people in different social structures where these tendencies are not valued as highly. Arab countries value conservatism and integrity where Westerners value rationality. After identifying significant differences, the article then talks about what steps can be taken to avoid conflict between the two groups and gain the other group’s trust.
Arabs expect regular praise when they have done good work, whereas westerners are content if they keep their job. Conversely, Arabs are more hurt by criticism than westerners. (Page
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They are expected to be devout Muslims and provide for their family both spiritually and physically. Despite this expectation of women, Nagla does not exhibit these features in her everyday life. She has a faith in God that she shows throughout the book but she does not exhibit the same reverential feelings about the traditional practices others in her community hold. This tells me that despite cultural expectations, for women to conform to a mold, each woman has to find her own way to do this. Ehsan and Ameena choose to use prayer to understand the world and Nagla understands the world by questioning what is right and good. This shows that from Rajia Hassib’s perspective, there is not one way to live as an Arab, Egyptian, or American. There may be one traditional way that people attempt to conform to in order to receive acceptance in their community, but it does not mean it is the only possible way of
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