Pop Culture Arab World!

Media, Arts, and Lifestyle

by Andrew Hammond


Most images we see of the Arab world depict war, despair, and anti-Western fervor. But what about the Arab culture that spawned award-winning films and literature and a media network that rivals CNN? A culture whose citizens are hooked on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and whose most recognizable woman (Fifi Abdou) is a belly dancer?

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Cover image for Pop Culture Arab World!

December 2004


Pages 376
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture
  • Hardcover



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    Hardcover: £73.00/79,00€/A$121.00

The first book to explore how Arab pop culture has succeeded in helping forge a pan-Arab identity, where Arab nationalism has failed.

Pop Culture Arab World! is the first volume to explore the full scope of Arab cultural life since World War II. The book reveals a homogeneous yet richly diverse culture across the Arab nations.

In-depth chapters feature radio/TV (particularly the satellite revolution, which has fostered a shared Arab identity), the press (vibrant and controversial), cinema (once thriving, now in crisis), music (the beating heart of modern Arabness), theater (a largely assimilated Western import), popular religion, belly dance (originating in the Arab world), Western consumerism, sport, and the Arabic language (for Muslims, the tongue of God's final revelation). At a time when almost all we see of the Middle East is violence, oppressive nationalism, dangerous zealotry, and despair, this book is a vivid reminder of the humanity of the region's diverse people.


  • Introductory essay exploring the evolution of Arab nationalism as a political ideology and its transformation into popular culture
  • Photographs of singers, actors, and other performers


  • Illustrates the link between seemingly diverse topics such as Arab pop music and the Arabic language in providing the region's sense of shared past, present, and future
  • Discusses what such often misused terms as "Arab world," "Arab identity," and "Arab culture" actually mean
  • Examines the paranoia of the region's elites over the future of the Arabs as a political and cultural unit in the face of globalization, Westernization, and American political plans for the Middle East
Author Info

Andrew Hammond is a journalist and writer who currently works as a Reuters correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, specializing in Middle East political and cultural affairs.



"[A] fascinating overview of politics and culture in the post-colonial Middle East. Anyone who wants to understand the complexities of Arab societies or better serve the needs of Arab students would do well to consult this book."C&RL News

"Hammond (an Australian journalist who works in the Middle East) succeeds in condensing a large body of data into clearly written, well-organized chapters. . . . Hammond clearly knows the region and is well versed in the various expression of its popular culture. . . . Highly recommended. All readers; all levels."Choice

"This timely volume offers good insights into the emergence of Arab pop culture and is recommended for most audiences."American Reference Books Annual

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