1997 Honorable Mention
Tournaments of Value
Sociability and Hierarchy in a Yemeni Town
by Anne Meneley
A significant contribution to our understanding of the varied experience of women in the Islamic Middle East, Tournaments of Value gives a careful description of a world of female socializing, and the velocity, energy, and elaborateness of this remarkable female social world.
Meneley’s data challenges assumptions about the cross-cultural validity of a division between household and community, between domestic and public domains. She demonstrates the fluidity of social life, the shifting nature of community organization, and in doing so provides a welcome counterpoint to more rigid formulations of Middle Eastern social structure usually expressed in ethnographies.
Tournaments of Value incorporates vignettes to illustrate more analytical points and to enliven the text, allowing the reader to enter fully into the rich world of Zabid in Yemen. This expanded 20th anniversary edition introduces this seminal work on Middle Eastern ethnography and women’s studies to a new generation of readers.