Re: Culture of honour

Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 17:56:43 PST

As helpful as research and prior thinking on what you're concerned with might
be, I can't tell from what you say if you've talked to people—ordinary people
in Sweden from the various communities—to discover, with them, what
meaning(s) "culture of honor" has for them. It seems to me that the CHAT challenge is
supporting the people to create the environment in which such dialogue can

Lois H

In a message dated 1/6/04 5:57:19 PM, writes:

> 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.
> Hans
> 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
> >

Lois Holzman, Director
East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy
920 Broadway, 14th floor
New York NY 10010
ph 212-941-8906 fax 212-941-0511

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