Re: Culture of honour

From: Hans Knutagrd (
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 14:58:27 PST

Thanks you Mike,

you are putting words on my thoughts and you are right on what I am looking
for. The "problem" is that in Sweden we have been trained to be equal. We
have not been in war for over 100 of years. Our military is a defensive
force. We try to avoid using the concept of honour, even if it exist as a
personal one and in the upper classes. Our minister of Immigration Mona
Sahlin said 4 years ago that the culture of honour does not exist in Sweden
and the use of that expression was to focus negative on immigrant cultures
and could lead to racism. In Sweden we should pay our "tribune" to the
state, the "good father" who take care of us, not to the family, culture
group or gang.

After the murder of Fadime Sahindals 2 years ago, who months before her
death talked to the Swedish government that she and other girls was
threatened to death of their fathers, the minister (and the government)
change her mind and said that the culture of honour exist in Sweden. And
Sweden have to do something about it. I have found no research about honour
in Sweden, but we have some now who have started to look at "honour murder"
towards girls. But they do not connect it to history and activity. I will
try to look up Shweder and I am happy for all your help.


Den 04-01-06 23.21, skrev "Mike Cole" <>:

> very important questions, Hans.
> I think the term, "culture" is being used in a variety of ways even in your
> discussion, never mind when we add in all those who have commented. To
> label something " a culture of x" is perfectly acceptable english ("A culture
> of narcissism" for example) but from my perspective (there is no CHAT
> orthodoxy on much of anything except to consider culture, history, and
> activity when theorizing human behavior!) one has to consider, a la the
> intro to lave and wenger, the practices which sustain particular behaviors.
> Or perhaps, following the lead of Shweder and friends in the 1998 Handbook
> of Child Psych article on cultural psychology, a unit such as "custom complex"
> might be useful.
> Do you have the equivalent of our military academies in Sweden? I would
> venture that there is some form of a "culture of honor" in such institutions,
> along with cultures of nationalism, obedience to authority, chauvanisms of
> various kinds, etc., if one wants to use that terminology. In such cases,
> we know pretty well what sustains such values (note how i slip in that term
> in place of culture?). I would be looking to good ethnographies of the people
> you are interested in, both in their home countries and in diaspora, to
> understand the behaviors from the inside well enough so that they make
> sense to you, even if you disapprove. Again, Shweder is a good example
> of an anthropologist who insists on understanding why and how various
> behaviors that "we" (whoever we might be) abhor (stoning a woman for
> infidelity, for example) can be strongly supported by people who are no
> better or worse than you or me or anyone we know. You may not agree with
> the way of thinking, but you will come away having been challenged to
> think.
> mike

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