This study of women and gender in a Muslim society draws on archival and literary sources as well as the life stories of women of different generations to offer a unique ethnographic and historical account of the lives of urban women in contemporary Azerbaijan. Focussing on a group of professional women in Baku, it provides insight into the impact of the Soviet system on the position of Azeri women, their conceptions of femininity and the significant changes brought about by the post-Soviet transition to a market economy and growing western influence. Also explored are the ways in which local cultural expectations and Islamic beliefs were accommodated to different modernisation projects.
'The book shows the changes of women lives, both in the context of developing capitalism and colonial relations in the pre-Soviet era, and under the Soviet system and it reveals the ways in which local cultural expectations and Islamic beliefs were accommodated in various modernisation projects.'
'The author also looks at the impact of the Soviet system on women's domestic, public, and work relations, and their conceptions of femininity. In the final chapter Heyrat discusses the pattern of employment of women today in relation to Azerbaijan's market economy.'- http://www.frauensolidaritaet.org
Introduction 1. Narratives of Self and Community in Transition 2. The Pre-Soviet Period and Social Geography of Baku 3. Early Azeri Modernisation: the Position of Women 4. The Soviet Revolution and Azeri Women 5. Religious Hearts and Atheist Minds 6. Professional Women's Coping Strategies: Home and the Workplace 7. Contradiction and Ambiguity: The Management of Femininities in Soviet Azerbaijan Conclusion