Nurturing Masculinities: Men, Food, and Family in Contemporary Egypt (Paperback)

Nurturing Masculinities: Men, Food, and Family in Contemporary Egypt By Nefissa Naguib Cover Image

Nurturing Masculinities: Men, Food, and Family in Contemporary Egypt (Paperback)


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Two structuring concepts have predominated in discussions concerning how Middle Eastern men enact their identity culturally: domination and patriarchy. Nurturing Masculinities dispels the illusion that Arab men can be adequately represented when we speak of them only in these terms. By bringing male perspectives into food studies, which typically focus on the roles of women in the production and distribution of food, Nefissa Naguib demonstrates how men interact with food, in both political and domestic spheres, and how these interactions reflect important notions of masculinity in modern Egypt.

In this classic ethnography, narratives about men from a broad range of educational backgrounds, age groups, and social classes capture a holistic representation of masculine identity and food in modern Egypt on familial, local, and national levels. These narratives encompass a broad range of issues and experiences, including explorations of traditions surrounding food culture; displays of caregiving and love when men recollect the taste, feel, and fragrance of food as they discuss their desires to feed their families well and often; and the role that men, working to ensure the equitable distribution of food, played during the Islamist movement of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011. At the core of Nurturing Masculinities is the idea that food is a powerful marker of manhood, fatherhood, and family structure in contemporary Egypt, and by better understanding these foodways, we can better understand contemporary Egyptian society as a whole.

NEFISSA NAGUIB is a professor of anthropology at the University of Oslo. Her books include Food and Foodways in the Middle East; Women, Water, and Memory: Recasting Lives in Palestine; and Interpreting Welfare and Relief in the Middle East. She also coproduced the documentary Women, War, and Welfare in Jerusalem.

Product Details ISBN: 9781477307106
ISBN-10: 1477307109
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2015
Pages: 156
Language: English
"In exposing the importance of properly feeding one’s family, and of the enjoyment of food in family circles to Egyptian men’s notions of manhood, Naguib sheds light on a gentler side of Egyptian masculinity, one related to caregiving and social responsibility. The book gives its readers a strong sense of Egyptian men’s commitment to their community and family, as well as of their sociability and sense of humor, through the stories they tell."
— Bustan: The Middle East Book Review