In this original and thought-provoking book, Relli Shechter examines the emergence of 'modern' markets in the complex social environment of the Middle East. In doing tracing their development, he reveals much about both the nature of markets and of social change in the region. Focusing on tobacco consumption in Egypt, Shechter looks at how markets are shaped by factors such culture, politics and psychology. The history of Egypt's tobacco habits from the water pipe (narjila) to the Marlboro light closely mirrors wider socio-economic developments in the country. Shechter begins his analysis in the mid 19th century, when tobacco was produced by an Ottoman entrepreneurial elite for export to the West. He then examines the command economy's attempts to mass-market tobacco products to its own people in the early 20th century. He shows how the operation of the market in this period reinforced the social stratification of the time, with the elites consuming European-style cigarettes and the masses continuing to use traditional products such as the narjila and the sheesh. Finally, looking at contemporary Middle East in the context of globalisation, Shechter finds that smoking habits have become intertwined with generational struggles and identity issues. Shechter engages energetically with cutting-edge social and economic theories in telling the story of Egypt's tobacco markets. The result is a fascinating book which contains a wealth of newly uncovered material. 'Smoking, Culture and Economy in the Middle East' will stimulate and inform anyone interested in political economy, social change and the Middle East region.
Smoking, Culture and Economy in The Middle East
The Egyptian Tobacco Market 1850-2000