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Work, the Family and the Body

(Mervat Hatem, Howard University)

The crises of modernity that triggered the 1952 and the 2011 revolutions took on very specific gendered manifestations that highlighted the contradictions between the newly won rights to education and work and the marital prospects of men and women at a time when the gender relations in families were being re-ordered first by the new modern secular ideals of heterosexual love then by Islamic ideals of the complementarity of gender roles that had different effects on reproduction, sexuality and the integrity of the body. The resulting state and neo-liberal responses to these crises distinguished these revolutions’ gender agendas and their methods of social regulation to produce different definitions of the self. The results are competing definitions of the self as either individualized or forever connected to others. There is a generational dimension to these definitions of the self in which structural unemployment has affected the prospects of the last entrants to the labor force since the 1980s with 40 percent of the population living under the poverty line, unemployment among women 5 times as high than that of men and the marriage age rising faster for men than for women.

Last Updated 16.08.2016