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Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Westerners (Interact Series) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Margaret K. Nydell
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Understanding Arabs: A Contemporary Guide to Arab Society Understanding Arabs: A Contemporary Guide to Arab Society
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September 2002 Interact Series
From the rise of fundamentalism to the historically uneasy relationship between the Arab World and the West, Margaret Nydell has expanded her highly respected book to bring today's complex issues into clearer focus. This third edition of "Understanding Arabs" introduces the complexities of Arab culture and Islam in an evenhanded, unbiased style. The book covers such topics as beliefs and values, religion and society, the role of the family, friends and strangers, men and women, social formalities and etiquette, and communication styles.


  • Taschenbuch: 218 Seiten
  • Verlag: Intercultural Press Inc; Auflage: 3 (September 2002)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1877864153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1877864155
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,8 x 14,2 x 2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 874.692 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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From the rise of fundamentalism to the historically uneasy relationship between the Arab World and the West, Margaret Nydell has expanded her highly respected book to bring today's complex issues into clearer focus. This third edition of "Understanding Arabs" introduces the complexities of Arab culture and Islam in an evenhanded, unbiased style. The book covers such topics as beliefs and values, religion and society, the role of the family, friends and strangers, men and women, social formalities and etiquette, and communication styles.

Der Verlag über das Buch

Penetrating the Arab cultural world
When UNDERSTANDING ARABS was first published in l987, Westerners knew very little about the complex world of Arab culture, where everything seems so unpredictable, but where in fact the deep culture remains remarkably constant

In this new edition, Dr. Nydell has given particular attention to the larger framework of Arab culture and to each of the nineteen Arab countries, carefully updating and annotating trends and events. This includes sixty new citations, chronicling the tremendous changes that have taken place in the last decade. Dr. Nydell is particularly attentive to the rising tide of fundamentalism that has swept Muslim countries; she comments on the great impact it has had in the Arab World, from women's dress to education to increased wariness of the West and criticism of Western values and behavior.

UNDERSTANDING ARABS provides a cross-cultural guide for foreigners who are living in an Arab country, who encounter Arabs frequently in the Arab World or in the West, or who are interested in Arab culture and sensibilities.

In early chapters Dr. Nydell examines the Arab personality in a cultural context that is comprehensible to foreigners yet not stereotypical. She looks at friendship patterns, attitudes toward strangers, hospitality, differences in ways of thinking, the value placed upon the expression of emotion, and relationships between men and women. Later chapters address broad societal structures including social classes, the family, religion, language and communication.

The Midwest Book Review says, "UNDERSTANDING ARABS is a rich source...[and] a perfect introduction into contemporary Arab-Western relations for both students of American Middle-East policies and the general reader with an interest in understanding the background to today's national headlines and issues." -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Understanding Arabs 9. Mai 2000
Von Jo-Ann
I recently spent 7 months living in the Gulf and am heading back again shortly. I found it very frustrating dealing wiht the cultural differences until a friend gave me this book to read. It was very helpful in understanding the traditions, customs, etc of the Arab world. I should not be taken as on offense as one reviewer (who hadn't even read the book did, but rather as a means to understanding each other. While I don't think of Arab people as "alien" we do come from two different worlds. Many of the Westren people I met while living in the Gulf had negative views towards the Arab people which I felt was largely due to ignorance. All people need to understand each other in order to live harmonously and this book is a helpful first step!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Einstieg in die arabische Welt 11. Januar 2003
Von A. Berti
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Dieses Buch ist einfach gut und einfach zu lesen. Wer sich ueber die arabische Kultur informieren will, wer in ein arabisches Land ziehen will (oder muss), wer vielleicht Arabistik studiert oder damit anfangen will, fuer alle diese Leute ist dieses Buch sehr gut. Auch ambitionierten Reisenden kann es einen Einstieg in die arabische Welt vermitteln. Es gibt einen sehr breiten Ueberblick ueber die arabische Gesellschaft und welche Umgangsformen und welches Denken dort vorherrschen. Es nimmt den arabischen Laendern die Exotik und macht vieles Verstaendlich. Die Autorin ist eine Expertin aus den USA, die dort bereits Diplomaten und Politiker ueber die arabische Gesellschaft informiert hat.
Wer dieses Buch liest und anschliessend in einem arabischen Land lebt, wird sich nicht so dumm anstellen und mehr Verstaendnis fuer die Menschen drumherum haben. Eine Warnung muss ich allerdings auch aussprechen: Islamwissenschaftler und Studenten der hoeheren Semester werden vieles schon kennen und sich mit diesem Buch nicht unbedingt vergnuegen. Der Leser kann sich aber inspirieren lassen, von der Art wie Nyrdall das Thema angeht. Sie geht einen einfachen, aber ueberzeugenden Weg. Sie erklaert zudem die erheblichen Unterschiede in der arabischen Welt. Arabische Kultur in Marokko unterscheidet sich eben von der im Libanon oder dem Irak. Eigentlich gehoeren auch Laender wie Somalia zum Arabischen Kulturkreis, aber hier liegt sicherlich nicht der Schwerpunkt des Buches.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Arabs, but no Aliens 19. Juli 1999
I haven't read the book. I am Arab so i know my people well enough. My comment though, and from the description given above, is that the book seems to suggest Arabs need to be "Understood", and dealt with "efficiently", as if they are somekind of Aliens with which one needs to make a quantum cultural leap to figure them out. I don't see how this can improve the bad intentionned view of Arabs and their culture in the media.
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32 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Word from the Author 31. Oktober 2001
Von "mknmisspiggy" - Veröffentlicht auf
Interest has suddenly peaked, reviews are more numerous, and I want to say something about how the book is intended. It is a handbook, not a scholarly academic product, written to help people with personal interactions, and to explain differences and reasons for differences. I made every effort to have many Arabs and Muslims read it, checking for anything false or negative, and by this time, to my knowledge, everybody approves. I urge Arab readers not to assume that this is yet another negative evaluation of their society and culture. I speak Arabic, and collected information over the years from many people who do not speak English; I traveled and lived in the Arab World for over thirty years. The publisher gave the book its title; it does sound Orientalist, how "we" understand "the Arabs," but... I keep looking for anything in Arabic written by an Arab to help Arabs/Muslims/Mideasterners understand some of the behavior they observe in the West ("Understanding Americans/ Understanding Westerners"). I have never heard of anything like this, to date. There are so may misperceptions on both sides, we need anything we can find to explain, explain, explain. I welcome any comments about points which readers think need to be changed or modified, added or subtracted. My entire career has been devoted to writing Arabic-language materials, and directing Arabic-language classes, hoping to get as many Westerners as possible interested in the Arabic language and the Arab way of life. I hope there is nothing in the book that can be taken as gratuitous criticism or a value judgment as to whose way is better in any aspect. Having lived among Arabs my entire adult life, I do not think it impossible to have a genuine feeling for both Arabs and Westerners, how both groups think, live, what they care about, what they believe. We certainly need mutual understanding right now -- too many people are forming conclusions based on very wrong perceptions.
11 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Appreciating the Culture of Arabs 19. September 2002
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
The title of this book could easily be changed to "Appreciating the Culture of Arabs." I have never been to an Arab country and before reading this book had no interest in going to one. Now I hope very much to get the chance to visit one some day.
I read this book mostly because I wanted a better understanding of a part of the world that is not being adequately explained in the Western popular press. The book makes generalizations, but I don't know how anyone could attempt to describe the behavior patterns and values of 150 million different people in less than 150 pages without doing so. I, like most Americans, am abysmally ignorant of Middle Eastern cultures. How many Americans know, for example, that polygamy is illegal in Iraq, that job opportunities for women are much better in Iraq than in the Arabian Peninsula, and that the Koran does not prescribe that women wear veils? I didn't know these and many other basic things about this vitally important region of the world until I read this book.
The generalizations made in the book are ones that make me want to become acquainted with Arabs. The values the author says people in the Middle East place on piety, friendships, and family are ones that I share. I am sure the next time I meet an Arab I will be much more likely to want to become his friend.

With the very general impression of the peoples of the Middle East provided by Dr Nydell, I am inspired to read a more in-depth study. This simple book has whet my appetite and given me a hunger to learn more about Arabic speaking people.
19 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Good on Arabic customs, poor on geopolitics 5. September 2003
Von Gaetan Lion - Veröffentlicht auf
This book is two books into one. The first book is essentially how to get along in Arabic countries. The second book is on geopolitics.
When the author writes about Arabic social customs and misunderstanding between Arabs and Westerners, she is more often than not right on the mark. The two populations are obviously very different in their overall behavior and approach to many aspects of life. In a sense it is an extrapolation of the North/South behavioral axis you find in many countries. If you meet a Northern French or Italian, he typically will be more reserved, more serious, and somewhat introverted than his Southern counterpart who will be more joyful, louder, extrovert. The North/South behavioral axis is not so pronounced in the U.S., as it is in many European countries. In any case, take this North/South axis and compound it several times, and you get an idea of the gulf between the typical Western behavior and the Arabic one. The author does an excellent job at explaining the differences between these two cultures. And, the information she imparts on this subject is truly useful for anyone traveling, working, or living in Arabic countries.
When the author shares her opinion about geopolitics, she is on quick sand. Her views on this subject are full of fallacies, contradictions, and errors. The author has no credentials and knowledge to support any of her subjective opinions. After all, her academic background is as an Arabic teacher. She has no academic degree in political science, international economics, demographics, or any other relevant discipline. And, it really shows. Had she stuck to Arabic customs, her book would have been so much better.
There are many authors who will shed much light on the subjects of Arabs, Islam, and their relationship to the Western World. Some of the luminaries in this field include Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington, Thomas Friedman, and Robert Kaplan.
9 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Westerners 31. Juli 2001
Von Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Philadelphia - Veröffentlicht auf
An American supervisor in Tunisia reprimands a local employee for habitually arriving late for work, and does so in front of the Tunisian�s subordinates. To which the employee replies in anger, �I am from a good family! I know myself and my position in society!� To which, no doubt, most Americans would respond with incredulity: who�s talking about family or social status? But to Nydell, an Arabic language specialist with long experience in the Middle East, there�s no mystery: the Tunisian �felt his honor had been threatened and was not at all concerned with addressing the issue at hand.�
Much in this fine survey of Arab mores will surprise the novice; old hands might find explanations for recognizable but somewhat inscrutable patterns. Some highlights: Doing favors is much more a part of friendship among Arabs than Westerners. A good personal relationship �is the most important single factor in doing business successfully with Arabs.� �To Arabs, honor is more important than facts.� �People are more important than rules.� Good manners are �the most salient factor� in evaluating character. Nydell rightly points out that Westerners resident in Arab countries automatically belong to the upper class, with all the benefits (social prestige) and obligations (good grooming, no manual work in public) that that implies. �Family loyalty and obligations take precedence over loyalty to friends or the demands of a job.� Nothing path-breaking here, but true and useful insights.
Middle East Quarterly, June 1997
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Primer on Arab Culture 20. Januar 2007
Von Eagle Eye - Veröffentlicht auf
Without stereotyping, author Margaret Nydell explains some of the major assumptions that undergird Arab beliefs and behaviors. Included are insights into characteristic gestures, expectations regarding male-female relations, religious attitudes, eating, socializing, and family life, among other things.
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