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A Taste for HomeThe Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut$
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Toufoul Abou-Hodeib

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799799

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799799.001.0001

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A Matter of Taste

A Matter of Taste

(p.113) Chapter 5 A Matter of Taste
A Taste for Home

Toufoul Abou-Hodeib

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores modern domesticity as articulated by men and women in the pages of the press and on lecture podiums, arguing for a project that carved out an economic and cultural place for an emerging middle class. As industrial production in Europe and the United States brought wider swathes of society in contact with new commodities, articles in the press on the use and disposition of objects at home attempted to differentiate the consumption habits of the middle class from the tasteless riches of the upper classes. While this functioned to culturally distinguish the nascent middle class in its social surroundings, the chapter argues that the debate went beyond, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing this middle class from “ifranji” (Western/European) modes of consumption and attempting to ground modern domesticity in “Oriental” or “Syrian” authenticity.

Keywords:   intellectual history, taste, Pierre Bourdieu, ethical consumption, fashion, women, Oriental authenticity, Westernization, localized modernity

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