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Title: Reforming narratives : Kuwaiti women's cultural engagement and political subjectivity in the post-Arab Spring
Author: Buscemi, Emanuela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 6774
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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The present research focuses on Kuwaiti women's cultural engagement and the development of a political subjectivity in the post-Arab Spring period. I maintain that, following the government repression and censorship in the wake of the local Karamat Watan manifestations, the reform movement and political activism have resorted to a less confrontational engagement through quotidian acts of cultural resistance. These practices undermine power relations and structures of domination, re-envision community and membership in the nation-state, elaborate new forms of participation, and re-appropriate collective memory through inter-generational familial accounts, thereby eroding dominant narratives and challenging the status quo. Women engage in cultural projects of their own to overcome societal limitations, all the while developing and displaying their political subjectivity, configuring an alternative public sphere, and elaborating innovative visions investing identity, belonging and relations. However, the same limitations they are confronted with sharpen their critical identities and inform their initiatives. I argue that, in Kuwait, the Arab Spring has resulted in a democratic apprenticeship to the appropriation of civil and political rights, and to the resistance to dominant narratives. As plummeting oil prices and regional instability pose growing threats to the persistence of the regime, renewed forms of engagement articulated within the civil society signal a mounting disconnection between activists and the leadership, and more importantly between the government and its citizens. Moreover, in the context of the recent "Qatar crisis", the investigation of women's participation and their role in Muslim Arab societies invests wider domestic and foreign policies, and lies at the heart of nations' visions. The present research is based on ethnographic fieldwork through participant observation carried out in Kuwait between 2013 and 2016.
Supervisor: Trzebiatowska, Marta ; Gandolfo, Luisa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Women ; Social change ; Arab Spring, 2010- ; Kuwait