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The Culture of IslamChanging Aspects of Contemporary Muslim Life$
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Lawrence Rosen

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226726137

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226726144.001.0001

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What Is a Tribe and Why Does It Matter?

What Is a Tribe and Why Does It Matter?

(p.39) 3 What Is a Tribe and Why Does It Matter?
The Culture of Islam
University of Chicago Press

This chapter aims to consider some of the theoretical and descriptive difficulties that anthropologists in particular have encountered with the concept of the tribe. It wants to show how we may have gotten to this state of affairs—particularly as it relates to tribes in North Africa (and by analogy to other parts of the Middle East)—and then to suggest, through several distinct metaphors, how we might more fruitfully think of these sociopolitical forms and how such rethinking may assist our understanding of the modern-day states with which they are both intertwined and, in some cases, constitutive.

Keywords:   tribe, North Africa, sociopolitical forms, modern states, Middle East, anthropological work

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