Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi'ite South Beirut

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Overview

South Beirut has recently become a vibrant leisure destination with a plethora of caf?s and restaurants that cater to the young, fashionable, and pious. What effects have these establishments had on the moral norms, spatial practices, and urban experiences of this Lebanese community? From the diverse voices of young Shi'i Muslims searching for places to hang out, to the Hezbollah officials who want this media-savvy generation to be more politically involved, to the religious leaders worried that Lebanese youth ...

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Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi'ite South Beirut

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Overview

South Beirut has recently become a vibrant leisure destination with a plethora of cafés and restaurants that cater to the young, fashionable, and pious. What effects have these establishments had on the moral norms, spatial practices, and urban experiences of this Lebanese community? From the diverse voices of young Shi'i Muslims searching for places to hang out, to the Hezbollah officials who want this media-savvy generation to be more politically involved, to the religious leaders worried that Lebanese youth are losing their moral compasses, Leisurely Islam provides a sophisticated and original look at leisure in the Lebanese capital.

What makes a café morally appropriate? How do people negotiate morality in relation to different places? And under what circumstances might a pious Muslim go to a café that serves alcohol? Lara Deeb and Mona Harb highlight tensions and complexities exacerbated by the presence of multiple religious authorities, a fraught sectarian political context, class mobility, and a generation that takes religion for granted but wants to have fun. The authors elucidate the political, economic, religious, and social changes that have taken place since 2000, and examine leisure's influence on Lebanese sociopolitical and urban situations.

Asserting that morality and geography cannot be fully understood in isolation from one another, Leisurely Islam offers a colorful new understanding of the most powerful community in Lebanon today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the 2014 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize in Middle Eastern Studies

"This outstanding ethnography of contemporary urban Middle Eastern life focuses on Hezbollah young adults, about whom people are generally misinformed, an effort of critical value to scholars of religion and politics as well as anthropologists. . . . The authors brilliantly illustrate the variety and complexity of moral choice, ethnic insularity, and worldliness with respect to other neighborhoods and populations."Choice

"Leisurely Islam provides an interesting study of an area many people know very little about. It will interest scholars and students alike. While the book speaks particularly to those working on Lebanon and the Middle East, it will also be relevant to researchers dealing with issues regarding youth, morality, space and diversity in general."—Marianne Holm Pedersen, Social Anthropology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691153667
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2013
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 542,982
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lara Deeb is associate professor of anthropology at Scripps College and the author of "An Enchanted Modern" (Princeton). Mona Harb is associate professor of urban studies and politics at the American University of Beirut and the author of "Le Hezbollah à Beyrouth".

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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii
Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Note on Language xiii
Introduction: Exploring Leisure, Morality, and Geography in South Beirut 1
1 New Leisure in South Beirut 35
2 Producing Islamic Fun: Hizbullah, Fadlallah, and the Entrepreneurs 66
3 Mapping Leisure and Café Styles 102
4 Flexible Morality, Respectful Choices, Smaller Transgressions 135
5 Comforting Territory, New Urban Experiences, and the Moral City 176
6 Good Taste, Leisure's Moral Spaces, and Sociopolitical Change in Lebanon 208
Appendix: Quoted Figures and Characters 223
Notes 227
Glossary 261
References 263
Index 277

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 85 )
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