Changes in Arabic Societies During teh 20th Century

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The early 20th century saw major changes in Arabic societies, which initiated a new cultural order that changed the lives of men and women alike. The sweeping changes associated with this period were catalyzed by a massive immigration from the countryside into the rapidly expanding urban centers of the region. There exist a variety of contributing factors to this migration: systems of land inheritance that fragmented land into smaller parcels (decreasing an already declining income per capita); the world-wide economic crisis of the 1930s that further crippled the income of farmers, and the disappearance of sustainable jobs. As a result, millions of rural dwelling peoples flocked to the cities where the prospect of employment was most probable. The population of cities such as Cairo grew at an even faster rate than that of the country itself, surging from 800,000 to 1,300,000 between 1917 and 1937 ( Hourani 335). This rapid increase led to a change in the layout of the cities, forming a variety of different, class-dividing quarters. Furthermore, the inter-mingling of a variety of different cultures and nationalities in these major urban centers stimulated the formation of a new era of social norms, especially in Muslim societies. During this time of expansion, the general population became more literate, necessitating a large increase in the number of books issued and printed. Literature of all kinds was provided to a hungry audience, including textbooks, works of

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