Re: Culture of honour

From: Hans Knutagrd (
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 13:51:53 PST

Thanks Peter and also David and Mike for leading me to Nisbett. I will get
that text.

Most families in Sweden who use violence towards their children out of
culture of honour context are from Islamic countries. By mentioning the
South I wanted to look for some common things which could appear as well in
some group of Swedes as groups in Germany, Spain or Italy.

I am still very uncertain about how culture and creation of culture is
defined in CHAT. Vygotskijs and Lurias field experience show that many
cultures can exist at the same place at the same time together. So the
culture of honour can exist among us today. But is a culture able to exist
without nourishment? Can the culture still pick up historical nourishment or
is it like Hanks writes in the foreword to Lave and Wenger that "even in
cases where a fixed doctrine is transmitted, the ability of a community to
reproduce itself through the training process derives not from the doctrine,
but from the maintenance of certain modes of coparticipation in which it is
embedded." That should mean that it is not so much the "honour" that are
transmitted but the way of living and thinking and acting? So where can I
get help in this creation and transmitting culture in CHAT?

Hans in a white Malmö, covered in snow for the moment.

Den 04-01-06 18.09, skrev "Peter Smagorinsky" <>:

> I did not mean to sound offended, but wanted simply to ward off
> overgeneralizations on a large and varied region.
> First, people do not agree on what is included in the American South. When
> I lived in Oklahoma, some considered it Midwestern, others Southern, others
> Southwestern (and that orientation might depend on which part of the state
> you lived in--the part bordering Arkansas, the part bordering New Mexico,
> the part bordering Kansas). To some Maryland is in the South, to others
> not. Many people in Georgia think that my home state of Virginia is in the
> North. And many people in southern Virginia do not believe the Washington
> DC metropolitan area (where I grew up) to be part of the South. So if
> you're going to talk about the region, you need to consider that it's
> ill-defined to begin with.
> Second, many perceptions of the region are based on the dominant culture,
> when many other cultures exist. In the South most obviously this would
> refer to African American culture, which itself includes a number of social
> class distinctions. Metro Atlanta, for instance, has a robust governing
> and entrepreneurial African American social class that is not present in
> other parts of Georgia where the legacies of slavery and segregation are
> still present and affect economic opportunities for African
> Americans. More recently, the large Latino/a immigration has brought new
> cultures to the region--I emphasize the plural because of the variety of
> nationalities represented (see, e.g., the large Cuban population in Miami
> and burgeoning Mexican population in Georgia).
> They say that the South isn't as Southern as it used to be. A lot of
> Northerners have relocated to the South because of the temperate climate
> and business opportunities. It's still got an unfortunate base of racist
> White residents (see the inflammatory debates about the Confederate flag),
> both those blatantly hostile and those who discriminate more subtly. But
> I've lived in a number of parts of the US and have found racism
> everywhere. This is not to excuse Southern racists, only to point out that
> they're hardly unique and perhaps more indignant given that not long ago
> their prejudices were written into law and they feel that they've lost
> their entitlement. In most of the state-wide elections we've had since I
> moved here, the candidates who've played the race card have lost.
> As for a Southern code of honor, I just don't know. I think it's like a
> lot of other legacies (e.g., the Southern tradition of civility, which was
> extended only to other Whites), it's part of a heritage that may or may not
> have actually been practiced, and is referred to these days primarily in
> terms of its loss. But like a lot of other Golden Age concepts, it may
> never have existed as strongly as memory suggests.
> Well, hardly a chat analysis, and likely an impressionistic ramble, but my
> 2 cents' worth, and worth every penny.
> best,Peter
> At 04:44 PM 1/6/2004 +0100, you wrote:
>> Sorry Peter,
>> I did not want to offend you or other Southern in any way. I guess it was
>> the same generalization as talking about Mediterranean, Arabic, Islamic
>> culture of honour. And that is one of my problems to be able to locate it
>> clear and distinct, but still it exist floating around and showing its face
>> here and there. So Peter, since you are born, raised and live in South and
>> work with CHAT what is your reflections on the subject? Can you give me a
>> tread to start with?
>> Yours curious
>> Hans
>> Den 04-01-06 16.19, skrev "Peter Smagorinsky" <>:
>>> 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:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> 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?
>>>> Yours
>>>> Hans Knutagård
>>>> Sweden

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