Family Values and Structures in the Middle East
At the end of our program, classes are ending, and events are winding down, but emotions remain powerful. We will all face reentry, and deal with it in different ways, and I'm sure that all of us are thinking about what this means personally. I do not know what the first thing is that may come to your mind when you think of home. Maybe you are scared that your little sibling took over while you were gone, and you will have to resolve this in a civil manner. Or, it could be that you are really looking forward to the mashed potatoes that mom is going to make, just the right way. In our circumstance, however, it is likely that you just can't wait to get home and wash your clothes thoroughly.for free! Chances are that you have thought about your family, and are excited to get back. Whatever it is that you think about when you think of your family, it is familiar to you. Family is, in most situations, what is stable and comfortable in ones life, when everything else around is changing.
When reviewing my learning plan, my goals and outcomes for this project consisted of developing a broader view of Middle Eastern culture. I stated that I would examine family values and structures, while incorporating social standing and lifestyle, such as the relationship between urban and rural families. I specifically mentioned that I would study values such as religion, which did in fact have an extremely large influence on family development and change through out the history of each country we were in, though it was more apparent in certain countries. I also hoped to begin expanding my knowledge of my own birth culture through a unique perspective.
One thing I did not realize until much later in the program was how broad the family as an institution really is. I learned that the family encompasses so much of a countries culture, whether it is history, beliefs, values, traditions, or customs. The family is what engulfs and reflects these aspects of a society. It is affected by the political beliefs of a country, and it also reflects the social and economic standpoints in a society, most specifically women's status. As we recently learned from Dr. Carmocolias, kinship, or the family, is one of the two oldest and most important institutions in the world (religion is the other), and I find it quite interesting, because I found the most significant correlation between the two. Two main aspects that I found most influential on the family were religion, and foreign influence, and I will now summarize my findings in Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, and Greece.
Turkey is a prime example of the division between urban and rural family life. This is a country that was greatly impacted by its rich history. The influx of Europeans, due to the commercial treaty of 1839, marked a period of rapid urbanization that changed family structures and brought opportunity for women in the workforce (Duben, 7). One point I concluded...