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Title: Domestic interiors : gender, ethics, and friendship in Jordan
Author: MacDougall, Susan
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis draws on 34 months of participant observation in a working-class neighborhood of Amman, Jordan to ask whether and how gender, specifically femininity, can serve as a framework for ethical self-cultivation. It describes the relationships between morality, progress, and gender in contemporary Jordan, where progress is viewed as important and inevitable but also amoral, and morality is associated with the past, which is the opposite of progress. Women are uniquely affected by these oppositions because they are expected to both preserve the morality of the past and embody progress, defined as maximizing their own self-interest through consumption, education, employment, and participation in public life. In this confounding context, women must be deliberate about how they choose to define and inhabit proper femininity, and the work of defining and inhabiting demands creative and productive engagement on their part. They respond by participating in a bounded public that not everyone can enter, and by making and maintaining a distinct temporality inside their homes that is distinguished from the temporality of urban life outside the home. They observe and work on their bodies in a complex and highly elaborated way, differentiating intuitive knowledge (authentic) from social knowledge (instrumental) and biological (medicalized), and they approach friendship as an arena for establishing boundaries between oneself and others, and for dealing with the social ramifications of the individualized approach to self-cultivation that is available to them.
Supervisor: Clarke, Morgan ; Parkin, Robert Sponsor: Wenner Gren Foundation ; School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography ; Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Middle East Anthropology ; Gender ; Jordan ; Ethics