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Guide Jugendkulturen junger Muslime: Jung und Moslem in Deutschland (German Edition)

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Interactions within the Muslim community and with non-Muslims including gender issues, political participation, etc. Several observations can be made with regard to these three manifestations of Sharia rules. First, these rules do not include domains of Islamic law like criminal law and state law. Second, this collection of rules appears quite random, both in scope and in content.

From an Islamic legal-theological perspective, however, there is an internal logic to it, because these rules share a high ranking in the hierarchy of Islamic rules prescribed by classical legal scholarship: they are explicitly mentioned in the Koran, by the Prophet, or by scholarly consensus, and are therefore the first to be followed by any devout Muslim, and the last to be compromised on. In other words, these rules pertain to the essential substance of Islamic religion. The third observation is that according to legal standards of most modern states, only the rules relating to family relations and financial transactions can be considered law or legal rules.

From an Islamic perspective, however, all human conduct, whether individual or communal, is governed by Sharia. Fourth, these domains of Sharia pertain to the daily lives of Muslims, and appear to have little to do with the totalitarian schemes of an Islamic state or with political views on an Islamic restructuring of Western societies. Of course, such views do exist among some radical Muslims, just as there are Muslim extremists who interpret Sharia as a justification to declare their fellow Muslims heretics, or to call for militant action against alleged Western injustices.

Although such people are the source of security concerns, the majority of Muslims in the West uphold a much less radical interpretation of Sharia. It must therefore be clear that for each of the three domains of Sharia rules in the West, we must consider that they can be interpreted by Muslims in liberal as well as conservative, and even in extremist ways. For instance, with regard to the interaction with non-Muslims, we can observe a wide array of practices by Muslims, ranging from participation to segregation and from isolation to aggressive rejection.

We will discuss this in more detail in Part III below. The preceding paragraphs provided some crude building blocks to construct a notion of Sharia in the West. We have identified the social-legal domains where Sharia in the West is applicable, but we do not yet have a clear view on how it is applied. To do so requires a legal-anthropological approach. Although the theories and methodologies of such an approach are well developed, they have hardly been applied to Sharia, 30 and even less so to Sharia in the West. As we have seen, this does not fully correspond with what we observe in the West, where Muslims opt for the observance of only a selection of rules, and perhaps not always do so in agreement with the tenets of Islamic legal theory.

What term should we use then? Rules of Islam do not represent an absolute and singular Sharia, but a relative notion that depends on the meaning, interpretation, and practice attributed to Sharia by Muslims. As mentioned, this set of rules is not necessarily equal to that of the legal-theological doctrine developed by classical Islamic scholarship. The next step is therefore to come to a clear understanding of where these rules come from.

Although a Muslim individual or community may state that they practice rules of Islam derived from sacred sources, the approach of our model is that the source, the internal motivation, or the justification of these rules is of little relevance because we are interested only in the manifestation of this rule. Similarly, the increasing volume of Islamic legal scholarship that regards Muslims in the West the fiqh al-aqalliyat may be of great interest from an intellectual point of view, but tells us little about its practice by Western Muslims.

Muslim scholars may come up with all types of Islamic rules tailor-made for Muslims in the West, but we simply do not know whether and to what extent Muslims in the West adhere to these rules. This has to do with the difference between text and practice, whereby both the devout Muslim and the observer may tend to attach greater importance to the text than to what happens in reality.

Our model, on the other hand, seeks to facilitate an understanding of the practice of Sharia. My aim is to devise a model that encompasses all different religious-legal realities of Muslim life in the West. To do so, I turn to the concept of social groups generating or otherwise living in accordance with internal rules. This phenomenon has been extensively studied and theorized by legal anthropologists. The relation of these rules to the state is thereby of no relevance.

Indeed, some of these communal rules may even be contrary to state rules, as is the case with gang rules and many religious rules. What counts is the normativity of the rules within these groups. For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that there are also Muslim groups and communities that do not practice such norms. Having determined what we mean by rules of Islam, and who produces these rules, we now come to how they are being practiced. In case of Islamic rules, this enforcing agency may be the individual Muslim who may invoke God as the ultimate enforcing agent , social peer pressure, the religious authorities, or the state.

In Muslim majority countries, we see a mixture of all of these, as Islamic rules have become dispersed across the private and public, social and legal domains. Muslim majority countries have infrastructures of adjudication and consultation, and at times enforcement, either as state institutions courts, state mufti or as part of the religious establishment institutions like al-Azhar in Egypt.

However, such infrastructure is lacking or rare in the West with the exception of South-East European countries , so that Muslims are left to their own devices, whereby the main problem they face is: Who has the authority to interpret, explain, or adjudicate a rule of Islam? In a Western environment, therefore, the practice of the rules of Islam is basically of an informal nature.

That means that adhering to these rules is voluntary: it is the individual Muslim who decides if and how to apply a rule of Islam, and Muslims effectively become their own muftis. I briefly address these three situations below. The first two situations, advice and adjudication, explain the need for authoritative Muslim personalities or institutions in Western societies. To date, it seems that such authority is embodied mostly in individuals like imams or scholars. But we have seen that there are few of them in the West, or at least too few to meet the demand for such authority.

And of the few bodies that have been established for this purpose, like the so-called Sharia councils in the UK and the fiqh councils in America, some have received criticism from Muslims for not being representative, or for the pressure that they allegedly exercise, particularly on Muslim women. Peer pressure is also the main issue in the third situation: Muslims may feel limited in their freedom to interpret and practice certain rules of Islam, or to not follow rules at all, by social pressure or even coercion by other Muslims, such as peers, family, religiously authoritative figures, or the community.

This pressure does not apply exclusively to Muslims: individuals in any society are subject to forms of pressure from their environment. Peer pressure in Muslim communities in the West, however, receives considerable public and political attention, mostly with regard to the position of women. In some instances, this social pressure can be aggressive.

Peer pressure by fellow Muslims may force certain Muslims to submit against their will to rules of Islam, or to rules that they disagree with. But peer pressure may also force Muslims to call upon rules of Islam as an escape strategy. For the purpose of this model, we conclude that the informal practice of Islamic rules in Western societies is not enforced except by the Muslims themselves. Self-enforcement manifests in several forms, including individual voluntary practice and peer pressure. Between these two are the personalities or bodies that can be given sufficient authority by the Muslims communities to exert forms of enforcement.

Based on these considerations, I define the notion of Sharia in the West as a a set of Islam-motivated rules b practiced by Muslim social-legal entities individuals, communities, organizations in the West, whereby c these Muslims are both the defining and the enforcing agency of these rules. Note that this definition is not intended to elucidate why Muslims do certain things; it merely determines what they do and how they do it. I believe that this is the only way we can come to a clear and objective evaluation of the so-called Sharia in the West.

In doing so, we observe that the Muslims in the West are practicing a selective variety of rules of Islam, ranging from prayer and charity, through marriage and dress codes, to interaction with the non-Muslim environment. These rules are subject to numerous theological interpretations and to various forms of practice, ranging from private and friendly to publicly confrontational and even violent. This amalgam of rules, interpretations, and practices is what we call rules of Islam.

By defining Sharia in this way, we avoid the need to determine whether a rule is or is not Islamic. Sharia may be singular in source but not necessarily in outcome, and it is this outcome where our main interest lies. For example, female genital mutilation FGM is considered not Islamic by most Muslim religious authorities and by majority consensus in Islamic orthodoxy, but it is practiced on a wide scale in several Muslim majority countries like Egypt and Sudan, where the practitioners consider it to be a rule of Islam.

A similar issue arises with violence perpetrated in the name of Islam: to some Muslims, certain situations may justify or even call for violence, but such violence is condemned by others. In these examples, both sides invoke Sharia to justify their actions. From the perspective of Muslim believers, this may be highly frustrating, because they are in need of religious certainty. But the advantage of this approach is that it prevents the observer from becoming mired in discussions about true Islam or real Sharia, and enables him to move on to determining whether a certain action or behavior is acceptable or not, regardless of its religious qualification or justification.

This brings us to the next conclusion, namely that Sharia is a blanket term that needs clarification whenever it is used. Nevertheless, its use has become so commonplace, especially in connection with the notion of Sharia, that we cannot circumvent it. For the purpose of this model, I define the West as a geographic region that shares certain histories, features, and values.

For the sake of brevity, I refer to three characteristics that stand out. The first is a shared historical heritage that is of European origin, of which the Christian legacy is an important feature. Especially in response to the presence of Islam in Western societies, the notion of secularism is upheld as a key Western value.

Within the context of these shared values and legacies, however, there are distinct differences with respect to the experiences with Muslim communities and immigrants in the various Western countries, their political and legal systems, and their attitudes toward religion. In countries in South-Eastern Europe, for instance, Muslims and consequently, the Islamic infrastructure, are a century-old phenomenon, whereas in other Western countries the presence of Muslims is of recent date.

These differences, however, are merely the coloring of otherwise common characteristics of the West. I prefer to use a restricted definition that encompasses only Europe and North America. At face value, these responses would appear to be diverse. First, there is a difference between the many Western countries. For example, in some Western countries police officers and teachers may wear a headscarf, whereas in others it is strictly forbidden.

Chapter 1. Losing emotions

Second, the various rules of Islam elicit different reactions: some rules are considered controversial, like face veils and certain forms of family law, whereas others are applauded or even embraced, such as Islamic financial instruments. Within this myriad of often-conflicting Western reactions, we may discern two general but distinct responses. Western countries share a system of political and civil liberties and institutions, most of which are enshrined in constitutions and treaties. These include the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and individual freedoms.

I use the term political-legal response to denote all reactions toward manifestations of rules of Islam that invoke these political and legal values. In our case, we are interested in such responses to the informal practice of rules of Islam. For this, we first need to obtain a better view of the Western political-legal response to religion in general.

Although recent publications indicate shifts in the legal paradigm owing to emergent cultural and religious pluralisms, 46 we can discern a few basic features of this response that are of a structural nature. The most important of these features is that in Western countries, religion is subordinate to the overall political and legal national structure.

Political and legal concepts like freedom of religion and separation of church and state are legal means to regulate the leverage that religion may enjoy in a particular society. Admittedly, countries differ in the elaboration of these fundamental principles. For example, freedom of religion means no state involvement in some countries, while it is upheld in other countries by means of active state support. In the latter case, formal state recognition of a religious community is needed for these communities to establish their theology faculties, to receive funds to pay the salaries of their clergymen, to maintain their places of worship, or otherwise to be recognized as a formal counterpart of the state.

Within these different modalities, religious communities in Western societies have maintained their institutional and legal infrastructure, parallel to that of the state, and are mostly allowed to do so as part of their freedom of religion. In most Western countries, however, their decisions have no legal power and are to be followed on a voluntary basis, a voluntarism that may be subject to peer or community pressure, as noted above.

The proposed model holds that many controversies regarding rules of Islam in Western societies are not of a political-legal nature, but are prompted by societal and cultural objections raised by the dominant normative culture of a particular society. Insofar as these values are based on local custom, a national tradition or a dominant social order, but not on the national political-legal framework, I refer to them as cultural-religious values.

The voice referring to these values is often raised in discussions on pluralism, multiculturalism, and liberties, and is most prominent when it comes to matters of Islam and, in particular, Sharia. For example, with regard to religion, secularism is often referred to as fundamental to Western societies, and as such in contradiction with the newly arrived public manifestations of Islam in the West. In Europe, the notion of secularism has developed as a dominant public and political culture that is unappreciative of overt manifestations of religiosity.

In the US , however, a different tradition of secularism exists, where religion plays a prominent role in the public and political domain. The clash is much less prominent, however, if secularism is defined as a political-legal institution of separating state and religion. It is precisely this separation that is embraced by many European Muslims because it guarantees their freedom to practice their faith according to their own wishes and without state interference. The combination of the political-legal and religious-cultural responses helps us make sense of the different, and at times opposing responses to rules of Islam.


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For example, the law may explicitly allow the building of mosques despite nationwide opposition; or the law does not prescribe that hands need to be shaken when greeting, yet this may be considered an insult by local custom; or, in countries like Kosovo and Albania, wearing the headscarf is not allowed at universities, but it is accepted as part of the national culture of these countries. Based on these examples, we can draw up a matrix that identifies each rule of Islam on the basis of being allowed or not by prevailing state law and court rulings, and being accepted or not by the dominating normative culture see table on next page.

This matrix of political-legal and religious-cultural responses is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely illustrative. And granted, this matrix is sketchy and prone to nuance and interpretation: especially the normative aspect of the cultural-religious dimension deserves a more complex answer than a simple yes or no. The first example is that of Sharia courts. The only Sharia courts that are part of the national legal system in the West exist in the Greek province of Western Thrace. But the cultural-religious response against Islamic tribunals is the dominant one.

Note that the arguments against such tribunals are seldom levelled against the religious tribunals of the other religions. Another example is the so-called burqa ban, or prohibition against wearing the full-face veil in the public domain. Bills to this effect have been tabled in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain in Combining the two Western responses shows that the debates about Sharia cover wider issues than law and legal institutions.

But there is more to consider. In its responses, the West, like any other state system, represents a normative system that is enforced through political, legal, and social majority control. In Western states and societies, Muslims constitute a minority with little if any influence on majority control. Even if one were of the opinion that rules of Islam somehow need to be accommodated by Western legal systems, 67 such accommodation would be by choice of these systems and not by imposition of rules of Islam or by Muslims. Muslims wishing to apply any Islamic rule of their choosing are always dependent on the possibilities and preclusions of the Western normative context.

It appears, therefore, that the power relations between the Western legal system and the rules of Islam represent, in the words of M. And that is definitely not the case. The power relations work in favour of the Western legal system. The cultural-religious response is then being transformed into a political-legal response. The previous paragraph did not address a third, and perhaps the most dominant contemporary response to Sharia, which is the security response. Sharia as such, or in some of its manifestations, is at times perceived as a threat to the legal order, to social cohesion, or to national security in general.

The response in this case is not political-legal or religious-cultural, but one of self-preservation or even self-defense. Is this a third category of Western responses that we need to consider? In my opinion, we do not, because this response is of a different order. The political-legal and cultural-religious responses stem from strongly-held values; security, by contrast, is a self-defense response; it is not a value or based on a value, but rather serves to protect those values.

This is not intended to reject such a response; on the contrary, the self-preservation of any nation or society is a factor that drives human behavior. I am, however, more concerned here with providing an analytical tool for the underlying factors what kind of Sharia are we talking about, and what is the nature of the responses to it from the Western environment than with the security policies that may or may not follow from such analysis. I therefore leave security considerations out of the model. I argue that most Western conflicts with Islam that make headlines are, apart from Islam-motivated terrorist attacks, issues related to social behavior.

In some cases, such as the burqa ban in France and Belgium, and the Sharia ban in several US states show, these have been legalized. The model proposed in this article is based on a dialectic: Muslim social-legal entities want to live in accordance with certain rules of Islam, prompting Western legal systems to respond, which in turn creates counter-responses by Muslims.

This counter-response is what I will discuss in this last section of the article. The cases discussed in the previous section show that most responses to Sharia-related matters are not of a political-legal nature. Indeed, the political-legal response is often favourable to rules of Islam and their institutionalization, but this seldom is a convincing argument. Manifestations of rules of Islam receive mostly a negative religious-cultural response.

The alleged infringement by these rules on religious-cultural values, or its contradiction to such values, is often perceived in such manner that the public or politicians ask for the protection of these values, at times even under the aegis of national security. Two effects of this response on Muslims are apparent. On one hand, Muslims in the West embrace the Western political-legal values, at times even more than their non-Muslim peers do. Hence the paradox that Western political-legal values create the possibility for living in accordance to Sharia.

It should not be surprising, therefore, that many Muslims in the West perceive the Western response being based on double standards: the freedoms that the West embraces are restricted as soon as it comes to Islam and Muslims. Muslims in the West are keenly aware that what they want with respect to the rules of Islam may at times not be allowed by law, often because of political, legal, emotional, and cultural objections to Sharia.

A few Muslims claim their political-legal rights by aggressively invoking Sharia, but most maintain adherence to rules of Islam with caution and trepidation. With this is mind, and allowing for generalizations, it is possible to point out five ways in which Muslims cope with rules of Islam in light of the array of Western responses: rejection, adoption, adaptation, conformity, and incompatibility.

The famous sociologist, who considered himself a proud member of the middle classes, repeatedly talked and wrote about honour as a pre-modern pretension. At the same time, he was extremely thin-skinned when it came to his personal honour. He never hesitated to call out colleagues who, as he saw it, had insulted him or his wife. Although Marianne Weber was an outspoken feminist, she obviously did not mind him defending hers and his honour.

The two gentlemen met at Battersea Park in London. The Duke shot first, but apparently did not aim at his opponent. The latter then fired in the air. At that time, the British had by and large abandoned the custom of duelling at home. Why did they choose to carry their honour, as Rousseau framed it, on the tip of their sword? Why did they risk their lives in order to save their honour? Men of honour were not in the least driven by material interest or gain.

Rather, they went for something immaterial, spiritual and emotional. They brushed off all concerns for their own life and that of others, including the well-being of family members. Whenever they felt insulted, men would call each other out, and fight to the last drop of blood in order to save their honour. What was so compelling and attractive about the duel? There were others, obviously, who abstained from the custom and condemned it as stupid, dangerous and irrational.

Criticism had been around as long as the practice existed. All pros and cons had already been discussed at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A hundred years later, critics were even more outspoken. They dominated parliamentary debates and newspaper reports, they hijacked literature and religious sermons.

They organised rallies and founded associations like the anti-duelling league that were active in many European countries. Yet, despite their efforts, duelling persisted as a social practice. Still, it would be misleading to think of duelling mainly as a ritual forced upon their members. On the contrary, duellists prided themselves on holding motives of their own. Even Marx, who strongly disapproved of duelling as a social convention, tolerated it as an expression of individuality. The same held true for Max Weber, who openly defended the duel in certain situations, but denounced those who were blindly following the custom and using it for minor purposes.

On the one hand, duelling was forbidden by law which, as a civil servant, Wagner had a strong commitment to obey. The rift, he knew, could not be healed. Yet it could be narrowed by restricting the duel to truly serious cases of slander. Indeed, duellists wrote farewell letters to their loved ones or drew up their last will in the night before they met their opponent. They were well aware that they faced death at dawn. Even if the offence had been trivial, thus softening the rules in terms of distance, number and order of shots and reducing the risk, one could never be sure about the outcome.

When Humboldt confronted Boyen in , he did not know, as he later confessed to his wife, if Boyen was really determined to shoot him. At the duelling site, he saw him taking aim with care and precision— until, when Boyen finally pulled the trigger, he turned the pistol into a slightly different direction. He was doubtful whether he should shoot at Vincke at all. He could not join in the chorus cheerfully greeting the bloodless outcome, but would have preferred to continue the fight.

They took men by surprise and overwhelmed them to such an extent that they felt the urge to share them with family and close friends. As a general rule, duels followed a highly ambiguous emotional script. On the one hand, they were seen as terminating a conflict that had aroused strong, sometimes even violent emotions. Men felt shamed and humiliated by an insult which had stirred their anger and rage. Yet, instead of retaliating in the same manner or even worse, they called the other person out. Anger and rage were transferred into regulated action.

It involved third parties who served as seconds and tried to mediate. The time that elapsed between the insult and the duel was another method to pacify hearts and minds. On the site, then, duellists were supposed to display a restrained and controlled demeanour. Even if their blood was still boiling, they were not supposed to show it. Initial rage was thus transformed into noble restraint and fair play. Humboldt alluded to fear and anxiety, Bismarck wrote about his desire to see blood.

Others evoked the serenity of the moment and a sense of sublimity. Many felt torn between the wish to be generous and compassionate, and the lust for revenge and self-assertion. The fight was a duel, meaning that chances and risks were evenly distributed. It happened time and again that students without any shooting experience killed or wounded officers who were well-trained in pulling the trigger. At the same time, though, he stood up for his convictions, values and beliefs. He defended them through vigorous action and did not shy away from sacrificing his life or health for what he found important and necessary.

A man of honour was, in short, anything but a coward. Fearing for his life and avoiding any action that could put him in danger was not something of which a duellist could be accused. His whole behaviour spoke to the exact opposite. He personified courage, no more and no less. And he personified it in a special way. His courage was not the daredevilry and foolhardiness of some youngster who did not know or care about risk.

Men like Humboldt, Boyen, Bismarck or Vincke, who were in their late 30s or 40s, could hardly be considered ignorant firebrands. Rather, they were men who thought of themselves as responsible adults, fathers and husbands, who held important public offices and made an impact on the world in which they lived. Still, they found it necessary to demonstrate courage, fully aware of the life-threatening risks involved.

Courage for them was equivalent to fortitude and steadfastness. Rather than offensively moving forward and pushing their limits, they held their ground. To have that courage makes up manly honour. Looking back at pre-war society and its cultural trajectories, he let the two intellectual antipodes, Naphta and Settembrini, engage in a duel.

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Settembrini felt otherwise. It is the ultimate, the return to a state of nature, slightly mitigated by regulations which are chivalrous in character, but extremely superficial. The essential nature of the thing remains the primitive, the physical struggle, and however civilized a man is, it is his duty to be ready for such a contingency, which may any day arise. Whoever is unable to offer his person, his arm, his blood, in the service of the ideal, is unworthy of it; however intellectualised, it is the duty of a man to remain a man. Theodor Lessing, a year-old philosopher, felt insulted by an article that Mann had written, and asked him by telegram!

Alfred Pringsheim, a professor of mathematics, was himself an experienced duellist; as a passionate admirer of Richard Wagner, he had once physically attacked a stranger who did not share his musical sympathies, and consequently was called out. It very much depended on the situation, on its publicity, on the personal character of those involved, on their sensibilities and judgments.

The culture of honour, as it was practised and observed in Continental Europe until the early twentieth century held many opportunities for negotiation and compromise. Honour was not an emotional capital that could be traded and exchanged regardless of space and social status. It was only valued by, and within, social groups that shared the same notions and practices. If, for instance, a middle-class entrepreneur got insulted by a worker, he would remain quite unconcerned.

In serious cases, he might take the offender to court and have him fined or flung into prison. His personal sense of honour, though, was left unharmed. If, however, a man from his own circles dared to deny him the respect that he deemed necessary, things were different. Sociologically speaking, honour served as a means of social integration: it established certain rules of conduct within a social group and enabled its members to solve their disputes in a way that did not damage the community.

Above all, the duel was a social practice that relied on, and expressed the equality of its actors. They met on equal terms and fought under equal conditions. They both consented to the rules and were not taken by surprise. No one was attacked from behind, or ambushed at night. The fight took place in broad daylight and under the supervision of peers seconds, doctors, friends. Through this setting, the opponents claimed to be men of honour belonging to the same social universe.

By confronting each other on the duelling site, they acknowledged and recognized this claim. Humboldt was absolutely sure that the duel with the Prussian minister of war had purified and stabilised their relationship. In , the brother of a man who had been killed in a duel, asked to pay a visit of respect to the colleague who had fired the mortal shot and who had subsequently been detained in a fortress a prison for the privileged. Men might still be irritated when insulted, and even file a lawsuit against slander. But they would surely not be as upset as to risk their lives in a duel.

The compelling emotional overtones and undercurrents of honour have disappeared. Present-day Western societies still know of highly ritualised and emotionally charged honour practices performed in marginal or liminal settings. The Mafia and related criminal networks are a case in point, and so are certain male adolescent milieus. While the former use honour mainly to strengthen group cohesion, the latter tend to stress self-assertive claims to honour and respect that are inextricably tied to the male body and its physical as well as sexual prowess.

Usually a father or brother murders his daughter or sister respectively, because she did not lead the kind of life dictated by the family customs. Quite evidently, there are some important differences. For one thing, the duel could not be considered murder since it was voluntary, consensual, and symmetrical. Men were not forced to fight a duel but did so because they found it appropriate for various reasons.

They met on equal terms: neither the offender nor the offended claimed advantages. They bore the same weapons, they exposed themselves to the same risk of killing and being killed. The duel was not an act of revenge or premeditated murder that left the victim no chance of hitting back or defending himself. Instead, it was a social practice that drew on, and established the equality of those involved. This implied, for another thing, that duels were fought between men only, and between men of similar social backgrounds.

Duels between a man and a woman were virtually unheard of, and so were duels between men of different social classes. Fig 2. Les femmes se battent en duel detail from a 19th-century postcard. First, honour holds such strong emotional power that it imperatively calls for action. Men do not just feel it, they act upon it. Second, the action is always a male prerogative. Women might lose their honour, but they can never restore it by themselves. Third, female honour or family honour as it is sometimes called is always tied to sexuality.

It is about chastity, purity, and appropriate sexual behaviour. It is about not sleeping around or betraying your husband. Male honour, on the other hand, does not bear any direct sexual connotations. To a large extent, it consists of safeguarding the female honour and making sure that what belongs to him—or the family—is not taken away or sullied by someone else.

The referee immediately showed him the red card and Zidane left the field. Everybody wondered what had caused his violent action. Two days later, Materazzi admitted to the Gazetta dello Sport that he had insulted Zidane but did not say how. Shortly after, Zidane explained himself on French television. I would rather have taken a blow to the face than hear that. It was also the language with which Zidane had been brought up.

The son of Algerian immigrants from the Kabylie region which Bourdieu had studied in his early ethnographic research , he was accustomed to honour as social and emotional capital that needed to be protected and maintained. What was perceived as an insult closely resembled the list of offences that European men of honour had taken to heart: a blow to the face— above all, though, an attack on the sexual integrity of female family members.

His peers would have agreed and given him their support and solidarity. Zidane shared the same notions of honour but used different practices to defend it. By taking direct physical action, he followed the example of less educated men who had long since settled their honour disputes with fists and brawls.

Instead of keeping a stern face and delegating the affair to third persons who would then submit the challenge, they struck back at the offender and took immediate revenge. Still, it was no less a social act adhering to a commonly understood script. Especially those cultures that put a high price on female chastity held men responsible. A young factory worker could have premarital sex without being called a prostitute; she should make sure, though, that she only shared pleasures with the one who would later become her husband.

In contrast, the unmarried daughter of a middle-class family had to abstain from sex altogether. Her chastity was guarded like a treasure—which had a lot to do with marriage strategy and worries about paternity. In families that had much to be inherited, paternity issues were of utmost importance. A woman who had slept around before marriage could not be trusted afterwards. In addition, the new morality of romantic love demanded exclusivity and complete devotion on the part of the female partner.

In her own best interest, this should only take place in marriage which offered her long-term security and protection. By referring to nature, contemporaries both universalised and legitimized a moral code that was by no means natural, but integrally tied to man-made concerns and interests.


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This was part of the code of chivalry that was widely praised as an asset of Western civilization. Upon closer examination, however, men acted not only as protectors and guardians, but also as proprietors and representatives. But people at the time knew exactly what it meant: women should not be raped. They could neither challenge nor take on the rapist who was protected by the power of the victorious army.

Instead, they were made to stand by and experience utter emasculation. Many showed women raped and mutilated by German soldiers. It was meant and perceived to target and damage the honour of the whole nation. The fact that nations and states were imbued with honour was a common paradigm of nineteenth-century European thought. The Franco-German war of —71 and its prehistory had been largely conceived of in terms of honour and shame, of humiliation and satisfaction.

Prime Minister Bismarck, who had stood his ground on numerous affairs of honour, was equally concerned about the Prussian monarchy not being abased. Neither Louis XIV nor Frederick II had drawn a distinction between their honour as monarchs and the honour of the states they were thought to personify. Each one of them was now called on to feel personally insulted by derogative acts of foreign governments and the nations they represented.

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This introduced an urgency and passion into foreign politics that had hitherto been unknown. The full thrust of this passion was felt in , when the language of honour was not only spoken among diplomats, but also used to whip up national feelings and prepare Europeans for war. Female national allegories that had been popularized throughout the nineteenth century became war heroines and took up the sword.

Deutschland— August , the famous painting by Friedrich August Kaulbach, depicted Germania in full armour and flowing blond mane, ready to defend and attack. In turn, men were asked to defend and restore national honour by enlisting in the army and fighting for victory. It encouraged women to give out white feathers—a well-known symbol of cowardice— to younger men who did not wear a uniform and had not joined the troops.

This was meant as an outright humiliation, and it often had this effect. It showed a woman with her hair shorn carrying a child in her arms. The child was hers, the offspring of a relationship with a German soldier. After the liberation, she was publicly humiliated as a traitor: she had not only lost her honour as a woman, but had also insulted the national honour by rejecting French men and instead privileging a German lover.

To brand her as a traitor, fellow-citizens sheared her hair and made her the subject of public outrage and ridicule. Although economically beneficial to their families, their behaviour raised concerns about moral looseness and was interpreted as degrading German men. Has it made room for more individualised, less standardized and patriarchal notions of gender, nation and society? Evidence seemed to confirm the claim. Even in countries like Germany or Italy, which had tried to restore strong notions of honour and chastity during fascism, the gradual decline and erosion of honour as an emotion and a social practice became prevalent and could not be stopped.

European societies became far more egalitarian and less class-structured. The social stratification of honour that had survived the early modern period lost its legitimacy and was no longer taken for granted. Dignity started to prevail as a universal human concept superseding honour, as bound to distinctive social groups.

Both in politics and social conduct, honour required violent action that often resulted in the loss of life and limb. Embracing and enjoying life without further commitment to notions of national duty or social responsibility gained currency in post-war Western Europe. Furthermore, increasing individualisation and pluralisation of styles and manners undermined the defining power of formerly dominant circles. Women no longer accepted the iron rule dictating that their honour depended on chastity and sexual purity.

Everybody sympathised with Effi, the young woman who had had a love affair that her husband found out about years later. He challenged the lover to a duel, shot him and divorced Effi. And how do we account for what happened during the Yugoslav wars of the s? They introduced organised mass rape to the European theatre of war and used it to humiliate men and impair national honour. What had been known as more or less individualised acts of sexual violence in modern warfare developed into a strategy to foster ethnic cleansing.

Even if women no longer accept their honour to be solely identified by notions of sexual integrity, they cannot escape patterns of male behaviour targeting them as such—and, in addition, connecting their integrity to the integrity of the nation to which they belong. In circumstances surrounding violent ethnic conflict, as witnessed in former Yugoslavia and multiple African states ever since , women have been and are still held prey as bearers and representatives of national or ethnic honour.

Anyone who violates their sexual integrity, humiliates their male protectors, insults the national honour and emasculates their ethnic group. It only seems to work successfully in those regions whose inhabitants experience relative social peace and security. Highly militarized societies and those torn by war in contrast tend to quickly re- install notions of gendered honour that reflect older concepts of female chastity and male physical force. Here again, family honour essentially depends on female chastity which, as some immigrant groups see it, is threatened by the demoralising influence of the Western host society.

The clash of cultures is thus being acted out over the female body, and honour comes at a high price. How long this price will continue to be paid, remains to be seen. Invoking honour, as the French president did in , was therefore met with widespread bewilderment. Markowitsch New York: Springer, , pp. Classic and Contemporary Readings , 2nd ed.

New York: Oxford University Press, Interestingly, the postscript to this book did not mention the experience of National Socialism. See Fulbrook, Mary, ed. Peter Burke New York: Routledge, , pp. Berlin: Gebr. Mann, Psychoanalysis instead draws attention to unsolved conflicts as the root of depression. Gerolds Sohn in Komm. Solomon, pp. Vienna, , p. Rostock: Volckmann, , p. Gustav Mayer, vol. Norton, , pp. Anna von Sydow, vol. Ein Lebensbild Heidelberg: Schneider, , pp. The case is discussed in Appiah, Honor Code, ch. Besides, the duel became commonplace in France too, where the custom did not fade.

See Nye, Robert A. Anthony Williams Cambridge: Polity Press, , pp. Herbert von Bismarck, 2nd ed. Stuttgart: Cotta, , pp. Ina Britschgi-Schimmer Berlin: Juncker, , pp. Lowe-Porter London: Penguin, , p. This is both acknowledged and severely criticised by Bowman, James. I owe these references to Anja Tervooren. See, e. Blanche Dugdale and Torben de Bille, vol. Jahrhunderts, ed.

For the French national allegory Marianne and her historical metamorphosis, see Agulhon, Maurice, Marianne au combat. Laure Beaumont-Maillet Berlin: Nicolai, , p. Robert Gildea et al. Oxford: Berg, , pp. Nancy M. Gotthard Erler, vol. You can suggest to your library or institution to subscribe to the program OpenEdition Freemium for books. Feel free to give our address: contact openedition.

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