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An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon
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An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  9 reviews

Based on two years of ethnographic research in the southern suburbs of Beirut, "An Enchanted Modern" demonstrates that Islam and modernity are not merely compatible, but actually go hand-in-hand. This eloquent ethnographic portrayal of an Islamic community articulates how an alternative modernity, and specifically an enchanted modernity, may be constructed by Shi'I Muslims
Paperback, 263 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Princeton University Press (first published February 27th 2006)
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Jun 05, 2007 Hafsa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in the relationship between Islam and modernity
Lara Deeb’s first book, An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi’i Lebanon is a timely and cutting edge work that portrays and addresses the relationship between gender, religiosity, and modernity in a contemporary small Shi’i suburb called Al-Dahiyya, which is located in the south of Beirut in Lebanon. The book is very timely as it was published in the year 2006 and adds a different perspective to the academic discourses regarding religion and modernity in public life. The book seeks ...more
Bill DeGenaro
A really superb ethnography of the Shi'i suburbs in south Beirut. Deeb manages to write for a wide audience, focusing primarily on stories, individuals, and "public" (religious/ethnic/political/national) practices of a sometimes misunderstood and marginalized community. You needn't be a social scientist to follow her analysis. In fact, experts on Lebanon may find the work lacking or theoretically thin, but I thought it was lively and interesting. Recommended for anyone who wants to understand th ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Gwen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gwen by: Most recently read for "Geographic Perspectives on the Middle East" (grad)--but also read for "The Shi'i Revival" (undergrad)
Shelves: school
This was the third time (at least) that I had read this book, plus whatever excerpts had been assigned in the Intro to Islam class. This book made much less of an impact on me in graduate school--now, I had a much stronger knowledge of Ashura, the Kerbala Paradigm, and Hezbollah parastatal activities in south Beirut, so upon rereading, this book was not as powerful as I remembered. But this book is a great look at the daily lives of women active in women's societies in poorer Shi'i neighborhoods ...more
Literally the best 21st century ethnography I've ever read. Want to know why the modernizing world is getting MORE religious - not less? You can read many contemporary sociologists. But want to know WHAT this looks like? Read Deeb. Want to know why the world might benefit from more piety, especially in conflict-ridden areas? Read Deeb. She describes the pious Shi'a women who are re-building their communities, even as decades of poverty, militant activity, and international invasion has rent them ...more
Excellent ethnography of the Shi'i in Beruit. Falls a little short theoretically, but well worth the read. If one wants to get to know how daily life is in the Hizbollah-dominated areas of Beirut this is the book to read. It will enlighten those looking to understand Arab Shi'ism and see the banality of life, even in the 'exotic' regions of the "Other".
very fascinating look at the mix of gender, piety, and modernity in the Shi'i neighborhoods of southern Beirut, which are largely controlled by Hizb'allah. It should especially be of interest to those studying the Hizb'allah movement, women in Shi'i Islam, or the meeting point between Shi'i Islam and modernity.
**Normalising public piety can widen the gap between public and private piety.
Because the newer female shi'i generations no longer make the concious choice of piety, they are at a risk of revolting against it (just as their mothers revolted against the norms of their social realities)**

This was a really solid study though at times it gave me way more detail about practice than I would ever need as someone not writing an anthropology paper. I wish there was a little more contextualisation to go with the straight up description but overall it was an enjoyable read.
May 16, 2008 Kara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: anthro
very interesting ethnography of pious Shi'i Muslims in the suburbs of Beirut. well written for a broader audience than many anthropology books.
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