Project

Well-Being in the Arab World: An Anthropological Perspective

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El-Sayed El-Aswad
added a research item
The significance of religion and sanctity in a materialistically oriented and globally dominant and changing world has been a nexus of current debates in anthropological circles particularly those dealing with well-being and health issues. Islam follows an integrated approach to well-being that embraces physical, psychological, social and spiritual domains of health. Drawing on ethnographic studies conducted in communities belonging to Bahrain (predominantly Shi‘a), Egypt (Sunni), and the United Arab Emirates (Sunni), this paper aims at exploring the relationships between the Islamic sacred conviction of al-ghaib, the invisible and unknowable (El-Aswad, 1987) and the health practices of Muslim communities.
El-Sayed El-Aswad
added a research item
The significance of religion and sanctity in a materialistically oriented and globally dominant and changing world has been a nexus of current debates in anthropological circles particularly those dealing with well-being and health issues. Islam follows an integrated approach to well-being that embraces physical, psychological, social and spiritual domains of health. Drawing on ethnographic studies conducted in communities belonging to Bahrain (predominantly Shi'a), Egypt (Sunni), and the United Arab Emirates (Sunni), this paper aims at exploring the relationships between the Islamic sacred conviction of al-ghaib, the invisible and unknowable (El-Aswad 1987) and the health practices of Muslim communities. These ethnographic accounts are examined and compared with scholarly literature and cross-cultural materials dealing with health well-being in the aforementioned countries. The basic religious doctrine of al-ghaib upon which the entire Muslim cosmology/worldview is built and that has a profound impact on Muslim's daily lives can be defined as the belief in Allah, His angels, His books and His prophets as well as to such concepts as fate and the hereafter (El-Aswad 2012). While local Muslim populations endeavor to adapt new biotechnologies and health practices into their daily lives, various interpretations of acceptable Islamic behavior including modesty, privacy, diet-food restriction, and gender issues, or the relationship between medical practitioners and patients of the opposite sex, are expected to be generated. The paper provides relevant considerations necessary for achieving better health practices among Muslims.
El-Sayed El-Aswad
added 2 research items
This chapter discusses in broad terms the successes, challenges, quality of life, and overall human development experienced by the Middle East and North African (MENA) region from comparatively ancient to modern times. The chapter provides a rationale for identifying 21 countries as comprising the MENA region as well as for focusing on six selected countries, mainly Egypt, Iran, Israel, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Core features of the MENA region in terms of geography, demography, economy, culture, and religion are provided. Within this historical context, the chapter addresses external and internal factors along with religious and ideological orientations impacting the quality of life in the MENA region.
El-Sayed El-Aswad
added 2 research items
This chapter investigates the staging of the drivers of well-being and social-public policies in the region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This study provides an assessment of the roles of economic and non-economic drivers related to health, education, economy, and technology in shaping policy priorities and the policy options available to the MENA region. The objective of this inquiry is to show to what extent the drivers and input indicators of well-being help the governments and policy makers generate sociocultural plans and public policies aimed at improving the quality of life the people living in the MENA region. This study proposes that a better understanding of the drivers and determinants of well-being in the MENA region will provide relevant considerations concerning policy issues.
The thrust of this chapter is to designate a holistic construct using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. In addition to scholarly literature, the study uses information collected from the world’s largest data collection agencies to analyze a variety of objective and subjective indicators of well-being in the MENA region.
El-Sayed El-Aswad
added an update
I have extended the project to include Middle East countries that go beyond Arab world. However, this move require creating another project that will be announced soon.