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This book provides readers with a topical, social-anthropological introduction to the Middle East. It synthesizes historical, ethnographic, and socioeconomic data within a social science framework., and places in proper context the region's distinctive way of life which has always been at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations. Comprehensive and straightforward coverage includes distinctive theoretical forms without the use of social science jargon.. Chapter topics include the prophet, religion, identity, and culture of Islam; communal identities and ethnic groups; pastoralism and nomadic society; agriculture and the changing village; cities and urban life; women and the social order; leadership, patronage, and tribalism as local organizations of power; and challenges and dilemmas facing the Middle East today. For individuals who want to explore problems, patterns, and cultural processes of the area known as the central Middle East.