The Nuances of Islam : Empowerment and Agency for Palestinian Women in the West Bank

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The Nuances of Islam : Empowerment and Agency for Palestinian Women in the West Bank

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title The Nuances of Islam : Empowerment and Agency for Palestinian Women in the West Bank
Author Roald, Anne Sofie
Date 2016
English abstract
1. This article investigates into Islamist and Islamic-oriented women’s experience of ‘Islam’ in the West Bank, particularly as it comes to female networking and the relation between men and women. The empirical material for the present study is centered on the women’s perceptions of the role of ‘Islam’ in their daily life. The empirical material is analyzed in view of the theoretical concepts of ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’, particularly using Kockelman’s definition of ‘agency’ as ‘flexibility’ and ‘accountability’. The empirical material is gathered in 2010 and 2011 in two towns in the West Bank with in-depth interviews with nine women and observation in several religious meetings in mosques and in private homes. The result of the study indicates that Islamist women in the West Bank, particularly due to the post-conflict process of the region, have little flexibility, i.e., alternative choices. This is mainly due to family legislation, cultural attitudes to gender roles and gender relations, and women being economical dependent on their husbands. The women claimed Islam to be a means of giving peace, tranquility of mind, and a strong social female network. However, the Palestinian Authorities prohibition of Islamic lectures and Islamic welfare organizational activities, in which women played an important role, has had a disempowering effect on Islamist and Islamic-oriented women in the contemporary West Bank.
Swedish abstract
Denna artikel handlar om hur islamistiska och islam-orienterade kvinnor på Västbanken upplever "islam", i frågar som hur kvinnor socialiserar och i relationer mellan män och kvinnor. Studien bygger på ett intervjumaterial där kvinnor berättar om vad Islam betyder för dem. Detta intervjumaterial analyseras genom begreppen "empowerment" och "agency", särskilt Kockelman's definition av "agency" som "flexibilitet" och "ansvarighet". Intervjuerna gjordes 2010 och 2011 och jag deltog i många religiösa möter i moskéer och i privata hem. Studien visar att kvinnorna, särskilt pga att Västbanken är i en post-konflikt process, har brist på flexibilitet, i meningen alternativa valmöjligheter. Detta grundar sig i familjelagstiftningen, i kulturella attityder gentemot kvinnor och genusrelationer och att kvinnor till stor del är ekonomisk beroende av sina män. Kvinnorna menade att islam gav dem frid, samt gav möjlighet till ett starkt kvinnogemenskap. De islamistiska och islam-orienterade kvinnorna var aktiva både i islamiska religiösa sammankomster och de jobbade aktivt i islamiska välfärdsorganisationer fram till att Palestinska myndigheter förbjöd dessa aktiviteter. Förbudet gav därför de islamistiska kvinnorna mindre flexibilitet.
DOI https://doi.org/10.5250/fronjwomestud.37.3.0001 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher University of Nebraska
Host/Issue Frontiers. A Journal of Women Studies;3
Volume 37
ISSN 0160-9009
Pages 1-20
Language eng (iso)
Subject Islamist women
Flexibility
Accountability
Islamic activism
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21550 Permalink to this page
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