Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza

Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156920808X381658 Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 6 (2008) 315–350 www.brill.nl/hawwa Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza Nahda Shehada Institute of Social Studies, the Hague nahda@iss.nl Abstract In Gaza, one finds both an impressive rate of early marriage and the highest rate of fertil- ity in the world. 42 percent of women marry at 18 years or less whereas half the popula- tion is under 15. This phenomenon begs the following question: why is early marriage ever more frequent in Gaza but on the decline in the West Bank? This article proposes to develop an historical and sociological analysis of marriage trends in Gaza based on a dia- chronic examination of local Islamic court archives and interviews with people practicing this type of marriage today, while taking into account changing economic and political circumstances. Keywords Early marriage, Gaza, refugees, Islamic courts, ethnography Introduction Gaza is a demographic puzzle. 1 It is a place where the highest life expect- ancies for both sexes in the Arab region are recorded and population data shows low mortality rates (Goujon 1997: 24). Females enjoy one of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hawwa Brill

Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza

Hawwa , Volume 6 (3): 315 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1569-2078
eISSN
1569-2086
D.O.I.
10.1163/156920808X381658
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156920808X381658 Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 6 (2008) 315–350 www.brill.nl/hawwa Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza Nahda Shehada Institute of Social Studies, the Hague nahda@iss.nl Abstract In Gaza, one finds both an impressive rate of early marriage and the highest rate of fertil- ity in the world. 42 percent of women marry at 18 years or less whereas half the popula- tion is under 15. This phenomenon begs the following question: why is early marriage ever more frequent in Gaza but on the decline in the West Bank? This article proposes to develop an historical and sociological analysis of marriage trends in Gaza based on a dia- chronic examination of local Islamic court archives and interviews with people practicing this type of marriage today, while taking into account changing economic and political circumstances. Keywords Early marriage, Gaza, refugees, Islamic courts, ethnography Introduction Gaza is a demographic puzzle. 1 It is a place where the highest life expect- ancies for both sexes in the Arab region are recorded and population data shows low mortality rates (Goujon 1997: 24). Females enjoy one of

Journal

HawwaBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: ISLAMIC COURTS; ETHNOGRAPHY; GAZA; EARLY MARRIAGE; REFUGEES

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