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Title: Gender and guardianship in Jordan : femininity, compliance, and resistance
Author: Almala, Afaf
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7157
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis focuses on the role and impacts on women of the system of wilaya (guardianship) - enshrined in Muslim family laws and, more specifically, in the Jordanian Personal Status Law. In this thesis, wilaya over women is treated as crucial to maintaining a system of domination over women, as such designates women as legal minors and forms the basis of women's legal and social subordination. Therefore, I argue that wilaya plays a key role in the reproduction of the gender hierarchy system. The thesis makes three central points with regards to wilaya. First, the systematic inclusion of provisions of wilaya over women serves as a construct of normative femininity. In this light, I address the relevance of the state as a gender regime in analysing how the masculine and feminine selves are constructed and reproduced in the context of Jordan. I also probe how a masculine state works in collaboration with other institutions to give power, founding legitimate operations and procedural methods for institutions such as family and tribe to manage, produce, and construct normative femininity and masculinity. Second, a relationship exists between the extent/degree of wilaya over women and the view of the Self from within, through, or outside the normative construction of femininity. I argue that women's experiences of male authority that intersects with tribal, ethnic and class membership inflect the ways in which women interpret and experience the boundaries of the wilaya system. Therefore, this system impacts the diverse and contradictory constructions of Jordanian women's femininity, where some conform to the system and others contest or embrace a complex combination of compliance, accommodation and resistance. Third, the ambiguous and contradictory state of women's various forms of femininity resulted in women's adoption of practices with a tactical nature, which are also informed by available options, opportunities, and the potential for escaping the wilaya system without facing sanction or punishment. Although these tactics of survival and/or resistance have not ensured a substantive transformation in women's lives at the collective level, they can materialise into strategies aimed at achieving autonomous selves at the personal level, where wilaya is questioned and possibly contested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral