Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cracks of Resistance

**This is for an ethnographic study I'm currently executing with a professor.** I'm still working on this, so expect more in the future.

There are certain traits in human personality that are least explored but are exhibited in human actions. One of them is what is resistance. Let us define the phrase cracks of resistance as one’s conscious and unconscious behavior to prove one's identity and existence. I consider them unconscious because often, we might know we are resisting, or what it is that we are resisting, but it can be apparent in our experiences, thoughts, actions, attitudes, and behavior. While they are often latent, they are not always veiled, and the subject knows that she/he is resisting. For instance, many Egyptian Muslim women in the early 20th century started wearing the veil (face-covering) in an attempt to resist western imperialism and western ideas; they were resisting concepts that did not coincide with their religious and cultural thoughts and practices, and they did it openly.

Importantly, these are “cracks” of resistance. It should be remembered that, in general, a crack:
- is a result of some form of pressure
- develops as a result of an evolutionary process (it does not form overnight)
- shows intrinsic weakness of a substance, a subject, or a system of values
- is a destructive process (it destroys pre-existing elements that led to its formation)

These points show us that cracks do not occur suddenly; they are the product of an intricate process that involves pressure and are engendered by a plethora of individual and personal as well as collective and social factors. In our study, these cracks are a product of certain beliefs, rituals, norms, etc. that might be destructive to a certain or many groups of people in one or more societies, and the more these aspects of life continue, the wider the cracks become and the stronger the resistance grows.

In our ethnographic study, these cracks include:

- constant shopping
- buying jewelry, clothing, other accessories for pleasure
- extreme cooking (mostly for income, possibly to get one’s mind off of commercial issues)
- narrating a past, sharing stories, telling jokes
- giving children more liberty and independence (e.g., allowing them to have a marriage of choice instead of one that is forced or at least arranged by parents/elders)
- educating children, including daughters
- ultra sensitivity towards washing hands, face, other body parts, possibly along with worship rituals
- being actively involved in debates and discussions to get one’s views heard
- expressing too much engrossment in the recitation of the Quran
- offering prayers for the oppressed, subjugated members of society – and/or for oneself
- performing as many rakats of extra, voluntary prayers as possible
- establishing/heading organizations that aim to solve social problems
- joining social organizations, communities, clubs, etc.
- developing friendships with those who have different perspectives
- reading, writing
- over-perfectionism
- learning/studying Islam, Arabic, women’s rights in Islam, and/or similar topics
- incessant talking
- incessant quietness (e.g., “This doesn’t concern me”; “I’m not interested in this”; “Even if I do offer my opinion, it won’t matter,” etc.)
- indifference towards serious matters
- drugs, alcohol
- working (too much)
- oversleeping


  1. I though I only have a "butt crack" but was going through the list and I have so many "cracks" in me and I was wondering what I m resisting still don't know .. was thay pa bal gham warawalam da soch ba koma.Charta sam kaar darna wa na sho

  2. LOL, Arif! Yara kho no ... If you want, I can tell you what it is that you're resisting ;) Just by having ready our blogs :D

  3. you can always tell me maray .. tapos pakay ma kawa asay sama sbaraga yee or should i shay peeray yee

  4. go on tell me what am i resisting?

  5. LOL! No, Arif :D Bya ba shee. I mean, yeah, okay, but not now ;)

  6. And I thought I was the confused one .. za when ever you are ready I m all ears.


Dare to opine :)

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