Understanding Iraq: Society, Culture, and Personality

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This book illustrates the social structure of Iraqi society and the development of the national personality by dealing mainly with the great influence of Bedouin values upon the behavior and conduct of the sedentary population over the centuries and in the present. This book contains one black and white map.


“The collapse of [state] institutions [following the U.S-led occupation in 2003] and the virtual emasculation of Iraq’s educated middle class have thrown most Iraqis back on traditional institutions and practices. The ability to explain these institutions in language accessible to ordinary readers is what makes this book both relevant and important, especially for Americans seeking to formulate policy, help in Iraqi reconstruction or just understand Iraq. . . .We are indebted to Fuad Baali for this lively--and timely--translation of one of al-Wardi’s most readable accounts of Iraq’s society and personality.” - Dr. Phebe Marr, Former Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and leading scholar on the social history of Iraq

"The central thesis of al-Wardi’s sociological perspective in this book revolves around the intermingling and conflict between the Bedouin (nomadic) culture and the urban cities, particularly Baghdad. . . .Indeed, according to al-Wardi many Iraqis could be characterized by what he calls a “double personality”, i.e., a personality caught in a continuous conflict between the values of urban dwellers and those of the Bedouins. . . In summation, al-Wardi is the godfather of Iraqi sociologists. His impact and influence will be felt for many decades to come. . . . Dr. Fuad Baali’s translation of this volume is a detailed exposé of the aforementioned thesis.” - Dr. Ayad Al-Qazzaz, Professor of Sociology, California State University, Sacramento

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 The Conflict Between Nomadism and Urbanism
3 Nomadism
4 Nomadism and War Tendency
5 The Depth of Bedouin Culture
6 Iraq Under the Ottoman Occupation
7 The Clash if Cultures in Iraq
8 Constant Clashes in Iraq
9 Personality Development in Rural Areas
10 Religiosity in Iraq
11 Social Conditions in Urban Settings
12 Double Character in Urban Settings
13 Moral Degeneration in Urban Areas
14 The Nature of the Present Situation
15 Conclusion

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