MAN, STATE AND SOCIETY IN THE CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST by Jacob -- Ed. Landau

MAN, STATE AND SOCIETY IN THE CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From an ambitious survey of this kind, one might hope for analyses of the Jordanian civil war, for example, of Israel's class structure, of the origins of the clash in the Yemen, of British influence on domestic developments in the Persian Gulf, and so forth. This collection, however, offers at best sidelights on such major topics. The first section, on internal politics, is especially disappointing. A sprinkling of documentary statements by Nasser, Sharett, Abba Eban, and a couple of moderate Arab nationalists accompanies particularized studies: politics in Kuwait, religion vs. secularization in Israel, the lraqui Communists under Qasim (a right-wing sect in Jordan). There is also an overview of political parties in the Arab sector and a study of the Jordanian parliament which concludes that it isn't really oligarchic or, if it is, it's no more undemocratic than the U.S. The section on ""Society and Man"" is more rewarding. Ethnic minorities, social conditions, religious groupings are explored: again, the studies are for the most part particularized -- first-hand descriptions of a village here, strata of women there -- and when they approach political and economic matters, some are suspect (e.g., recent developments tend to contradict Eisenstadt's bromidic view of social cohesion and egalitarianism in Israel). Daniel Lerner, one of the best-known contributors, does try to unite all dimensions in his investigation of ""political instability"" in Syria; urban social life, a relatively neglected subject is discussed, in rather narrow terms, in John Gulick's paper on Tripoli. Specialists may already have read the most important material here and students will feel the lack of an integrated method and critical overview.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Praeger