© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 HAWWA 5, 1 Also available online – www.brill.nl CONTEXTS, CONCEPTS AND CONTENTIONS: GENDER LEGISLATION AS POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST MOUNIRA M. CHARRAD University of Texas at Austin Abstract Debates over gender relevant legislation such as family law have led to serious con ﬂ ict in many periods of Middle Eastern history, especially in recent times. One way to understand the intensity of the current debates is to recognize that gender issues raise fundamental questions about the relationship between individual and society and the role of states. In this article I argue that, in considering gender relevant legislation in the Middle East, we need to develop a framework that is di ﬀ erent from the paradigms anchored in the politics of western liberal democracies in the U.S. and Western Europe. The frame of reference I propose is built upon the fol- lowing propositions. (1) We should treat gender legislation in the Middle East as an inherently political matter that goes to the heart of the organ- ization of power. Such a perspective opens up the possibility of consid- ering the role of multiple and complex political processes including pressures from below by
Hawwa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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