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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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Home Is Where the Investment Is

Home Is Where the Investment Is

(p.49) Chapter 3 Home Is Where the Investment Is
A Taste for Home

Toufoul Abou-Hodeib

Stanford University Press

This chapter details how late Ottoman reforms introduced notions of hygiene and aesthetics that reshaped the relationship between the home and its urban context. Drawing on nineteenth-century global modes of knowledge that privileged rectilinear urban forms and sought to manage daily lives in expanding cities, new bodies of Ottoman law introduced an understanding of "public benefit" that tied domestic habits and individual lives to the public collectivity of the city. The implementation of these laws by the municipal council of Beirut also brought capitalist changes into the home, redefining it as property with a value linked to urban beautification projects. But in the absence of a clear understanding of the relationship between public benefit and the home, the latter remained an open site of contestation, amenable to interpretation as a link between private lives and the larger project of modernity.

Keywords:   public and private, public benefit, private property, hygiene, aesthetics, municipal governance, urbanization, Hanafi law, tanzimat, Ottoman reforms

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