Emile Durkheim, a French anthropologist in the late nineteenth and mid twentieth centuries, became absolutely fascinated with the thought of ‘what is it that binds human beings together in communities both large and small’ (Crandall 9). To answer this inquiry, he created the idea of social solidarity. This was to be made out of two subdivisions: natural or organic solidarity, taking into account the thought of common reliance and dependence on others to make a community function, and mechanical solidarity, in which every group produces and contributes what is important for survival (Crandall 9-11). Emile Durkheim’s social solidarity applies to numerous societies. We can see this illustrated in Elizabeth Fernea’s Guests of the Sheik. In the city of El Nahra, Iraq, social hindrances between the many groups’including the sheiks family, the vagabonds, and the womenfolk’make it troublesome for these groups of people to interact efficiently. This solidarity made it troublesome for Fernea to make genuine associations and relationships with these people, butt through a cognizant push to respect social conventions and traditions, she finds herself able to unite with them.
In the ethnography, Guests of the Sheik composed by Elizabeth Fernea, the Sheiks family, particularly the ladies, are a pervasive group inside the town of El Nahra. These ladies, additionally portrayed as the group of concubines, are all the wives and girls of the Sheik. Living respectively in a little compound, they illlustrate Emile Durkheim’s rule of mechanical solidarity. The ladies do not depend on each other to give everything key to survival in light of the fact that they are given these necessities through the Sheik and other individuals in the town. Rather, family ties, and their marriage to the Sheik predic
ament them. This solidarity was not picked by the women seeing that they didn’t decide to be bound together as a family, subsequently debilitating the union. However, they have been able to work together and cooperate.
The relationship of these women is rather complex, where age and wisdom do not determine the hierarchy. The Sheik leads the harem, however the female with the most power among them is Selma, who received this position by being most loved wife of the Sheik. The other women show their respect for Selma. Her leadership within the group is illustrated when Fernea is ushered in by the women when she first visits the harem. She was led by the women to Selma, where she was finally greeted (Fernea 28). This illustration diagrams the fundamental structure of the harem, and relates to Durkheim’s model of mechanical solidarity, as there is generally a leader in a group who makes the rules. This unity creates a force that keeps the family together, fortifying the solidarity between the women.
Women in El Nahra make up their own social group. Because of social convictions, ladies are not permitted to associate with obscure men, making a social hindrance between the sexes. Fernea does not comprehend this at the beginning, and is irritated when a lady pulls her abayah over her face as she and her spouse pass. She inquired as to whether this was on account of the women feeling that she had been hostile, and Bob clarified, ”The women always seem to cover their faces quickly when caught unawares by strange men’ (Fernea 25). The abayah that they wear create barriers between the men and the women. A black veil is a social custom and is an indication of humility and ethical quality. ”They say an uncovered woman is an immoral woman’. The tribesmen ask why a woman would want to show herself to anyone but her husband” (Fernea 6). This adds to other viewpoints that ceaselessly separate men and women from interacting, limiting social relationships between the genders.
The women of El Nahra initially saw Fernea as an oddity, and are to a great degree keen on her. She is
the first western woman most of them have seen or connected with. However, a little while later this excitement starts to wear off and it is clear that the ladies are not intrigued or inspired with Fernea. They are just interested about her western way of life. This is obvious through their refusal to drink her tea when they visit her home, them refusing to eat her bread, and their comments about her inability to do laundry (Fernea 77). This dismissal of an offering from a host is greatly rude in Iraqi culture, and demonstrates that not just do the ladies not have a security with Fernea, yet they additionally don’t regard her or take her endeavors to join their way of life genuinely. This irritates Fernea, and her feelings are shown when she states, ‘I felt hurt. They did not find me sympathetic or interesting or even human, but only amusing as a performing member of another species’ (Fernea 77).
Another social boundary that keeps Fernea from uniting with the women, language barrier. The local tongue of the populace of Iraq is Arabic, and Fernea just started to study Arabic a year before moving to El Nahra. She is not ready to comprehend what individuals are stating and it is difficult for her to communicate. Despite the fact that these circumstances are casual and appropriate for the blending of Fernea with the women of the town, her constrained learning of the dialect makes it difficult to feel included in the discussion. This makes Fernea feel uninvolved, and frequently hurt. This social barrier pushes her far from needing to bond with the women and thwarts the interaction between them.
The gypsies are another group depicted in the ethnography Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Fernea. From the outside the gypsy convoy looks incredibly glitzy and flashy as they parade through Iraq with their ‘bright clothing and gaily saddled animals’ (Fernea 57). On the other hand, once seen from within, it is evident that they are battling and troubled. At the point when Fernea, her spouse, and Razzak go to meet the gypsies they were exhausted, filthy, cold, and sick.
This gathering is sure to each other on the reason of mechanical solidarity, as they don’t each have a specific aptitude that is germane to manag
ing the troupe, yet they are bound by conviction and family ties. It is clear that this solidarity is extremely powerless when Fatima asks Abdul Razzak “why he didn’t bring hashish so she can forget her troubles” (Fernea 61). This demonstrates a craving to escape the world she is living in. A solid solidarity will even now have its inconveniences, however those inside the group won’t have any desire to escape it. Along these lines it is clear that their bonds to each other are decaying. The gypsies are dependent upon the populace of the town for cash to survive when they perform for them, accordingly making a detached natural solidarity between the populace of El Nahra and the gyspsy troupe. This solidarity is essential to the wanderers, yet not indispensable to the townspeople, making it a fragile relationship. The wanderers are always voyaging and migrating, so they depend on different towns for remuneration, and in this manner would not be totally devastated if their solidarity with the populace of El Nahra was disassembled.
Fernea had a difficult time building relationships with the majority of the gatherings due to the social boundaries displayed, however as her time in El Nahra carried on, she found herself able to leap forward some of these social obstructions and assemble fellowships. As her insight into the Arabic dialect enhanced so did her association with the women. Laila clarified later that when Fernea initially touched base in El Nahra the women thought about whether she was hard of hearing, moronic, or not knowledgeable in light of the fact that she would seldom react in discussion. As Fernea’s opportunity in Iraq passed, her Arabic enhanced and Laila advised Fernea she had sprung up and that her ‘company had improved immensely’ (Fernea 135). Having the capacity to speak with the ladies in the teasing way that they entertained one another permitted Fernea the opportunity to be included with the ladies and comprehend them, hence starting to construct a relationship.
The ladies of El Nahra anticipated that Fernea would demonstrate her value as a lady before she was acknowledged by them and seen as an equivalent. She discovers that to b
e acknowledged by the ladies she needs to reveal to them she can perform the errands of a suitable wife. Restricted in which Fernea performs this is through figuring out how to legitimately cook rice to the gauges of the Iraqi ladies. Through the assistance of a couple of the ladies from the town, she realizes this ability and performs it when cooking lunch for the Sheik. As news voyages rapidly in El Nahra, all the ladies were soon mindful of the supper that Fernea had set herself up for the Sheik and the other tribesmen, and that it was a vast feast, as well as a dinner that was all that much delighted in by the tribesmen. This demonstrated the ladies that Fernea was considering their way of life important and was a decent wife.
Despite the fact that it is not standard for the ladies of El Nahra to take up with men, Fernea has the capacity add to an association with Mohammad, the young man who was tasked with serving Fernea and her spouse. This companionship was structured more rapidly than Fernea’s association with the ladies of the town in light of the fact that she was compelled to figure out how to correspond with Mohammad from the time she touched base in El Nahra, despite the fact that this at first was troublesome and obliged rehashing words and utilizing hand signals. She was reliant on him to get basic needs and perform different errands, thus she saw him consistently, subsequently building up the relationship at a fast pace. It is obvious that Fernea has an association with Mohammad through her looking for his endorsement in the wake of serving the Sheik and the other tribesmen, and her recognizing his assistance in setting up the feast.
They groups depicted in the ethnography Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Fernea epitomize Emile Durkheim’s standards of natural solidarity and mechanical solidarity. The gypsies, the Sheiks harem, and the women of the town all showcase solidarity inside their sets with different groups. This solidarity was stronger in a few circumstances than others due to variables including how the gathering was shaped and what
made them stay together. There are social hindrances including dialect and social traditions that make social connection between groups troublesome in a few circumstances. These hindrances additionally influence Elizabeth Fernea’s capacity to make earnest associations with people in El Nahra, yet through perseverance in taking in the Arabic dialect and the Iraqi society, she is inevitably ready to associate with both the women of the town and Mohammad and make genuine relationships with them.
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