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Is There No Honour among the Maltese?

Paradigms of Honour in a Mediterranean Moral Economy

Jean-Paul Baldacchino

The ‘honour-shame syndrome’ is an anthropological model originally developed in the sixties to describe Mediterranean cultural unity. The model came under heavy criticism, producing a veritable ‘anti-Mediterraneanist’ backlash. There is, however, a renewed interest in the regional paradigm. This article attempts an analysis of concepts of ‘honour’ in Malta, contextualising it within the broader ethnographic and linguistic evidence from the region. The author argues that ‘honour’ is a salient moral concept, and in fact, Maltese has a rich and highly nuanced discourse of honour, which includes both sexualised and nonsexualised aspects. While the author criticises the simplistic ‘honour-shame syndrome’ paradigm, he argues that honour needs to be considered in its own right as an important key to analysing the contemporary Maltese moral economy as it engages with ‘modernity’.

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Offshore Desires

Mobility, Liquidity and History in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean

Rui Carvalho Homem

This article probes the ability of Shakespearean drama to provide expressive resources for coming to terms (conceptually, discursively) with current crises. These include both the power games of global finance, and those disasters that ostensibly concern other strands of geopolitics. The article focuses on two plays, The Comedy of Errors and Pericles, the actions of which unfold in the eastern Mediterranean – an area of the world associated, in the late modern imagination, either with mobility as pleasure (mass tourism and its apparatus) or mobility as crisis (disputed territories, the plight of displaced populations). It highlights the close bonds between prevalent modes – satire and farce in The Comedy of Errors, romance in Pericles – and the plays’ distinct strategies for representing human mobility: the sense of agency proper to acquisitive urges, the victimhood of forced displacement.

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Mediterranean Basin Wetlands as a Vertebral Axis of the Territory

Relationships with Roman Roads and Contemporary Livestock Trails

Alejandro Fornell Muñoz and Francisco Guerrero

Within the framework of the new environmental history, this article focuses on the interaction between historical human societies and a given natural environment. Specifically, we study the spatial relationships between wetlands, Roman roads, and contemporary livestock trails, with the aim of verifying the role of wetlands as a support of territory planning since antiquity to the present. The documentation used includes geographical and ecological manuscripts together with ancient sources (texts, archaeology). Our results demonstrate an overlapping that remarks the importance of wetlands in the study area’s territorial ordering during various historical moments. This result also opens the possibility of applying this reality to others parts of the Mediterranean region with the same climatological conditions and a similar history. The clear heritage value of the wetlands are compelling enough to take the necessary protection measures for their conservation in the face of the growing threat of their deterioration and disappearance.

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Italy in the Middle East and the Mediterranean

Evolving Relations with Egypt and Libya

Elisabetta Brighi and Marta Musso

The Mediterranean and the Middle East have long constituted an important “circle” in Italy’s foreign policy, with Egypt and Libya playing a particularly important role. During 2016, two sources of tension emerged in Italy’s relations with these countries. The first reflects a wider European situation. Like the rest of the EU, Italy has followed strategic interests—on migration, energy, and security—that sometimes conflict with the promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, which the EU claims to promote in its external relations. The Regeni affair, involving a murdered Italian graduate student, exemplified this tension. The second source results from the role of corporate interests in Italy, especially those of oil and energy companies, in relation to the country’s “national interests.” Italian foreign policy toward both Libya and Egypt seems to have been driven by a combination of somewhat overlapping but also divergent national and corporate interests.

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Olga Todorova

Eleni Gara, M. Erdem Kabadayı, and Christoph K. Neumann, eds., Popular Protest and Political Participation in the Ottooman Empire. Studies in Honor of Suraiya Faroqhi, Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2011, x + 364 pp., TL 25.00 (hb), ISBN 978-605-399-226-4.

Eric R. Dursteler, Renegade Women: Gender, Identity, and Boundaries in the Early Modern Mediterranean, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011, 239 pp., US$55.00 (hb), ISBN 978-1-4214-0072-3; US$25.00 (pb), ISBN 1-4214-0072-3.

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Gina Crivello

In this article I review concepts related to honour and shame and explore how these are understood within the context of the contemporary Moroccan Rif, a Berber-speaking region that is characterised by outsiders as closed and 'conservative', despite its long-established history of out-migration and transnational ties to Europe. The article argues that despite many changes to the political, economic and social landscapes of the Rif, understandings of honour and shame continue to shape gender hierarchies among Riffian Moroccans. As part of a broader system in which individuals negotiate status and respectability, honour and shame mediate relationships between individuals, families and 'honour groups' or moral communities in which they participate.

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A Bridge Across the Mediterranean

Nafissa Sid Cara and the Politics of Emancipation during the Algerian War

Elise Franklin

During the Algerian War, Nafissa Sid Cara came to public prominence in two roles. As a secretary of state, Sid Cara oversaw the reform of Muslim marriage and divorce laws pursued by Charles de Gaulle’s administration as part of its integration campaign to unite France and Algeria. As president of the Mouvement de solidarité féminine, she sought to “emancipate” Algerian women so they could enjoy the rights France offered. Though the politics of the Algerian War circumscribed both roles, Sid Cara’s work with Algerian women did not remain limited by colonial rule. As Algeria approached independence, Sid Cara rearticulated the language of women’s rights as an apolitical and universal good, regardless of the future of the French colonial state, though she—and the language of women’s rights— remained bound to the former metropole.

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The Gods of the Hunt

Stereotypes, Risk and National Identity in a Spanish Enclave in North Africa

Brian Campbell

How do stereotypes – as rhetorical, homogenising claims about the Self and Other – survive despite their users having personal experiences that contradict them? This article addresses this question by examining why the Christian and Muslim inhabitants of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta insist the ‘moro’ is a cunning, hostile antagonist, even when their interactions with Moroccans tend to be profitable, and even as ethnographers of mainland Spain report widespread revisions of the Moorish migrant’s negative image and the country’s Islamic past. Building on the interpretative model of stereotypes developed by Herzfeld, Brown and Theodossopolous, I argue that the ‘moro’ persists as an unequivocally malevolent character because it (1) is cultivated by a number of financially interested actors and (2) is central to the discursive strategies Ceutans use to respond to the political threats to their españolidad from both north and south.

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Rafael Böcker Zavaro

This article sets out the results of research which aims to determine the characteristics of fishing development in the province of Tarragona, from the social, territorial and economic point of view, as well as the perspective of the public policies implemented for this sector. It considers the role played by the various social, economic and institutional agents, and the importance of sustainable and responsible management of fishing. The research method we have chosen is the case study. The comparative analysis of the seven fishing ports in the south of Catalonia is even more significant in that each one has different sales volumes. The techniques used for gathering information were: the semi-structured interview, non-participant observation and the use of secondary statistical and documentary sources.

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“Brothers from South of the Mediterranean”

Decolonizing the Jewish “Family” during the Algerian War

Naomi Davidson

Almost all of Algeria's estimated 140,000 Jews had immigrated to France by the end of the Algerian War in 1962, many of them to the Paris region. Their arrival was a source of ambivalent hope for metropolitan Jewish religious and community leaders. This article demonstrates that the period of decolonization was one in which metropolitan Jewish leaders tried to simultaneously celebrate and efface Algerian Jewish difference. This struggle took place in local religious sites, where French and Algerian Jews were accustomed to a variety of liturgies, melodies, and behaviors. The tensions that erupted when Algerian Jews asserted their right to religious particularism should be read as evidence of the paradoxes of decolonization. While a near-century of colonial citizenship had made many Algerian Jews “French,” decolonization and migration to the metropole made them Arab in the eyes of many metropolitan Jews.