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Gender and the Expansion of International Society in the Middle East von Al-Khater, Khalid (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 01.12.2017
  • Verlag: vdf Hochschulverlag AG
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Gender and the Expansion of International Society in the Middle East

Gender politics is the most visible marker of conflict over identity within the Middle East. It also lies at the core of cultural conflicts in the relationship between the Muslim world and the 'West'. Why is gender such a divisive issue between the West and the Middle East? A theoretical framework and four case studies are employed to answer this question. The theoretical framework discusses the main approaches in international relations that perpetuate the liberal world order in different ways. In all approaches the gender project serves as a means of discourse and an instrument to justify, expand, or consolidate the liberal order. Part 2 presents the case studies. This dissertation argues that gender politics should be understood in the context of sociohistorical changes and the ongoing dialectic process between the liberal project and the expression of the ummah rather than through simplified mainstream perceptions of development and the need for liberating the oppressed Middle Eastern women. The three main arguments are as follows: First, gender discourse is a top-down project. Second, gender is embedded within layers of imperialism. Third, gender must be understood within the dynamics of the dialectic process between the ummah and the liberal order.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 150
    Erscheinungsdatum: 01.12.2017
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783728138712
    Verlag: vdf Hochschulverlag AG
    Größe: 1020 kBytes
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Gender and the Expansion of International Society in the Middle East

Gender Studies, the West, and the Middle East

This chapter discusses how gender studies developed in the West, the range of theories that emerged, and related concepts. This is important for identifying theories relevant to the gender debate in the Middle East and how they reflect developments in the West. Section 1 outlines the main concepts of gender studies. Section 2 outline the main approaches of gender studies. Section 3 discusses how gender evolved in the West. Section 4 discusses the concept of gender in Islamic thought. Section 5 provides a critical analysis of mainstream gender approaches. The final section presents the conclusions.
2.1 Gender Studies

The literature on gender studies can be put into three categories (Hooper, 2001). The first category discusses the biological role of gender. The second category analyzes the role of institutions and gendered social processes, such as the family and the state. The third category analyzes the discursive dimension of gender linked to language and discourse.

This section discusses the concepts of gender, gender roles, and sex as properties of social life and the development of feminism in general. Feminism is the academic field in which these concepts are most heavily debated. Instead of taking conclusive standpoints on the (ongoing) debates, I would like to focus on understanding the gender debate as a subjective dimension that intersects with many other dimensions in social life. This understanding is then explicated and contrasted with other approaches in feminist literature. The second section discusses gender in relation to developments in the West and developments in the Middle East, and outlines the most important points of contention.

The common Western historization of feminism starts with the term feminism itself and its three waves (Evans, 2006: 199; Dhamoon, 2013). The first wave started in the late 18th century, with Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) as one of the first major works of feminist philosophy. The first debate centered around the idea that it is nurture and not nature that signifies the role women (should) take in society. Later in the first wave, the important role of education came to light with the work of Mill's On the Subjection of Women (1869). This, among other works, advocated for women's participation in the public sphere. The subsequent struggle for political rights proved to be a long one, but it led eventually to women's education and women's suffrage in the first quarter of the 20th century. The second wave starts with the cultural revolution of the 1960s and ends around 1990. This wave largely centered on gender equality. The third wave, from the 1990s onward, represented a more diverse and contextual move that challenged the uniformity of femininity in the USA by adding the concept of race into the equation. Afro-American women let their voices be heard and challenged the conceptualization of femininity centered on middle-class white women. As such, even the idea of three waves has "a Western European and Anglo-American backdrop and is premised on a narrow source base" (Dhamoon, 2013).

Against this historical background, the essential concepts within feminism form a suitable opportunity for illustrating the diversity of the current state of feminism and emphasizing the importance of contextual factors. First, I discuss the concepts of sex, gender, and gender roles. Second, I introduce several significant schools of thought. Next, I present the debate on differences among women.

The concept of gender has a number of differentiations that overlap in their designation of gender 'as a social and/or cultural role within society' (Hawkesworth, 2013). This can be expressed in many ways: through stereotypes, ideology, behavioral conformity, a mode of perception, and o

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