Re: Culture of honour

From: Peter Smagorinsky (
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 07:19:29 PST

Hans wrote: (I heard that some say that the culture of honour in the South
of USA should be somewhat equal to the Arabic?)

I have lived more than half of my life in the American South and would say
that, while such a strain of belief might exist, it does not characterize
the whole region. The South is a large and diverse place, in spite of what
you see depicted in the media, which prefers Deliverance-style backwoods
caricature (note that almost any character in a movie or TV show with a
Southern accent is an idiot).

Peter (native of Virginia, current resident of Georgia)

At 03:41 PM 1/6/2004 +0100, you wrote:
>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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