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Politics, power and matrimony : understanding women's marital rights in Egypt and Iran.

Cooke, Samantha (2016) Politics, power and matrimony : understanding women's marital rights in Egypt and Iran. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how secularism affected women’s marital rights in Egypt and Iran between 1920 and 1939. Situated within the religio-legal jurisdiction of Shari’a, family law in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region has been critically scrutinised by both adherents to Islam and Western observers. There is consensus between both tradition that secularism had no meaningful impact on women’s rights in the private sphere due to the continued influence of Islam on social and cultural practices in the region. The nature of the Egyptian and Iranian states has altered with varying degrees of religiosity being evident. This is partially dependent on individuals in power; however, interactions with foreign actors have also contributed to fluctuations in the secular or religious nature of the state. Despite arguments that increased gender equality arises within more secular environments, the authoritarian implementation of policies in some secular states results in further impediments. Religious interpretations also heavily influence policy development, with debates continuing about the compatibility of women’s rights and Islam as prescribed in the Qur’an. Silences emphasised through contemporary events such as 9/11, 7/7, the Arab Spring and the emergence of ISIS highlight significant gaps in our historic understanding. Occidentalist arguments frequently emerge stating that increasing religious traditions serve to protect the identity and traditions of the state from Western influences. Whilst this perspective is heavily contested, patterns of a similar nature become evident in the early twentieth century following escalations in foreign presences in Egypt and Iran. Whilst twenty-first century family law in many Muslim countries remains firmly embedded in religious law, it is possible to see how the implementation of secularism during the early twentieth century influenced the trajectories of family law, facilitating the legal structures visible today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects : Politics, Middle Eastern History, Gender
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Cooke, Samanthas.cooke@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date : 29 February 2016
Funders : N/A
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
Thesis supervisorUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Depositing User : Samantha Cooke
Date Deposited : 01 Mar 2016 08:53
Last Modified : 01 Mar 2016 09:52
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/810018

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