Cafe Culture Analysis

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Register to read the introduction…In my thesis I argue that café culture in Beirut is a vibrant and necessary component of civil society. The café culture survived hundreds of years of social, political and economic changes, from the time that Beirut was a vilayet of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century until today. In the first chapter I explain the history of cafés in the Arab world. In the second chapter I discuss the modern café culture in Beirut (1940-1975), which grew out of the city 's economic boom that was largely created by regional political factors. In the third chapter I touch on the destructive effects of the Lebanese civil war (1975‐1990) on civilian life and café culture, and I describe contemporary cafés and their supportive role in the reconstruction of civil society. The influx of international corporate cafés into Beirut 's neighborhoods leads some to argue that café culture in Beirut is dying. This paper, however, shows that café culture thrives, though differently than it once did, and that these changes do not represent the death of café culture, but the evolution of café culture, that continues to serve as a place that cultivates…show more content…
Habermas ' theory validates the significance of café culture during the Ottoman period to building civil society, yet it fails to recognize that café culture continues to serve the function of empowering civil society through the changing conditions of the city and the evolution of the public sphere. Indeed, the ramifications of café culture go well beyond the city. A major critique of Habermas ' theory is that he "idealizes the liberal public sphere [and] fails to examine other non liberal, non bourgeois, competing public spheres."77 It is imperative to recognize that civil society is constructed by the many publics that exist in the same public sphere and that they are interrelated. In the Ottoman period the public was primarily composed of men - elite political activists and intellectuals as well as traders and ordinary workers from Lebanon and the region. In the pre-war era women joined café society, and so there were women 's groups, as well as political activists and intelligentsia, students and others. In the post-war era there is the older generation of friends and business partners who meet in cafés, as well as the diverse younger generation, includes the bohemian, "lefties" who frequent ta-marbouta and Bardo, and foreigners, mainly the U.S. and Europe, artists, academics and other

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