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In Egypt, singing and dancing are considered essential on happy occasions. Professional entertainers often perform at weddings and other celebrations, and a host family's prestige rises with the number, expense, and fame of the entertainers they hire. Paradoxically, however, the entertainers themselves are often viewed as disreputable people and are accorded little prestige in Egyptian society. This paradox forms the starting point of Karin van Nieuwkerk's look at the Egyptian entertainment trade. She explores the lives of female performers and the reasons why work they regard as "a trade like any other" is considered disreputable in Egyptian society. In particular, she demonstrates that while male entertainers are often viewed as simply "making a living," female performers are almost always considered bad, seductive women engaged in dishonorable conduct. She traces this perception to the social definition of the female body as always and only sexual and enticing-a perception that stigmatizes women entertainers even as it simultaneously offers them a means of livelihood.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780292787230
ISBN-10: 0292787235
Format: Paperback
(227mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: University of Texas Press
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publish Date: 1-Jun-1995
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Karin van Nieuwkerk

Karin van Nieuwkerk is an anthropologist and professor of contemporary Islam in Europe and the Middle East at the Radboud University Nijmegen.

Books By Author Karin van Nieuwkerk

Islam and Popular Culture by Karin van Nieuwkerk

Islam and Popular Culture

Paperback, April 2016