Culture of honour

From: Hans Knutagrd (
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 06:41:01 PST


I am just starting to do an assignment about young people, who are attracted
to their own sex, how they are exposed to violence in the family due to the
culture of honour. And how the social service and police deals with it. It
is not about what you call the coming-out process and problems around it.
More that the violence towards girls in some family, even killing, have put
a focus that there also could be the same problem for young people who are
attracted to their own sex, living in such families.

In Sweden we have had the last years two killing of daughter by their
fathers in the name of family honour, since the daughters had Swedish
boyfriends instead of the man to marry that the parents have chosen from
their own culture. In both cases the families have come from rural Middle
East culture. (I heard that some say that the culture of honour in the South
of USA should be somewhat equal to the Arabic?) That made people in Sweden
focus on patriarchal family system threatening or conducting violence on
their children in the name of cultural honour. Culture of honour, in the
violent form, seems to be connected to ³shame-culture², where the public
esteem is the greatest good and to be ill spoken of the greatest evil. In
the name of this honour-code mostly fathers and brothers use threats of
violence, violence and in extreme cases killing to rule over their
daughters/sisters. In Sweden we think that the same condition exist for
young people who are attracted to their own sex. The Government therefore
have supported funds for this report.

But since I want to base the report on culturalhistorical activitytheory I
want to ask following.

I want to know if someone has done some researched in this area? Since I
want to lift the question away from just Middle East/Arabic culture I need
to focus more about what is building up a culture and in this case the
culture of honour, and especially the culture that cherish honour more than
life. And here I have not yet come across a good definition about culture
out of CHAT. Do you know a good operational one? I have not yet found
something using CHAT to explain family violence - in this case towards sons
and daughters because of their sexuality.

I have found some good thoughts in Lave and Wenger about the learning
process which could be used to describe why the culture of honour still
exist in families, even though they live in a country that do not allow that
kind of law.

Could anybody help me?

Hans Knutagård

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