Women in Muslim Rural Society  book cover
1st Edition

Women in Muslim Rural Society

ISBN 9781412851763
Published May 30, 2013 by Routledge
289 Pages

USD $24.95

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Book Description

This study reassesses several accepted truths about Arab village society. It shows first that one cannot speak about the position of women in general, because there is a great difference among women depending on the structure of their households and relationships. Women whose work contributes to the family's income, who have been able to acquire property, who exert control over their sons, and who have the quickness of mind to exploit suitable opportunities, often have their way in the economic and political affairs of their households and beyond.

Ginat's analysis of marriage patterns dispels the common notion that men customarily seek the hand of their father's brother's daughter, and that this type of marriage illustrates a principle of endogamy in Arab village society. After carefully examining the numerous reasons for each marriage, he concludes that a combination of material and political considerations of the families involved, and not stated norms, determines the choice of spouses.

The author clarifies the notion of honor, which hitherto has been used to explain so many things in Arab society. In Arab societies a man's honor often seems to depend on the reputation of his women. Now it appears that his honor is gauged not by the actual sexual comportment of women for whom he is morally responsible, but by public attitudes towards that sexuality. Ginat's analysis adds to our understanding of some central themes in Arab society. He provides valuable and complete information about aspects of family life that have rarely been covered in such detail.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Chapter 1: General Features of the Hamlets
The Villages
Choice of Research Location
Research Methods
Ecology of the Hamlets
Public Buildings and Shops
Private Homes and Courtyards
Personal Clothing

Chapter 2: Historical Background and Environment
Establishment of Offshoots
Different Types of Dwelling
Situation after Rhodes Agreement
Land Ownership
Housing Projects and New Buildings
Local Government and Institutions
Transportation and Communications
Contacts Between Hamlets

Chapter 3: Economic Structure
Histadrut Membership
Land Leases
Distribution of Irrigation Water
Water Cooperatives
Occupational Changes and Attitude to Village

Chapter 4: Marriage Patterns
Alleged Right to Marry FBD
Explanations for Alleged FBD Preference
Proposed Evaluation of Marriage Patterns
The Model
Marriage Patterns in the Hamlets
Sub-period 1918-30
Sub-period 193 1-48
Sub-period 1949-56
Sub-period 1957-June 1967
Sub-period July 1967-Sept. 1974
Exchange Marriages - Badal
FBD Marriages: Fact Versus Ideology
Descent and Hamfila Membership
Planned Marriages
Further Discussion of Badal
Endogamy Reconsidered
Summing up of Method, Model and Marriage

Chapter 5: Woman's Status and Role
Woman's Power
Ideology Versus Woman's Own Views
Average Size of Family
Freedom of Movement
Changes in Woman's Status
Woman's Involvement in Decision-Making
Selection of Marriage Partners
Woman as Property Owner
Family Honor and Shame
Relationships within the Family
Women as Conveyors of Information
Importance of Gossip
Roles in Circumcision Ceremonies
Woman's Place in the Political Structure
Woman's Definition of her Role and Status

Appendix A: Informant Questionnaire
Appendix B: Supplementary Agricultural Data
Appendix C: Kinship Charts
Appendix D: Supplementary Studies in Marriage
Pattern Analysis

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