Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN33_03b: Marriages, Rituals and Gendered Negotiations.
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Elisabetta Ruspini, University of Milano-Bicocca
Location: BS.3.15
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Crossing The Borders In A Divided Society: Mixed Marriages Among Palestinians And Jews In Israel

Maha Sabbah karkabi1,2

1University of Haifa; 2Truman Institute, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

This study explores the way intermarriage between Palestinian women and their Jewish spouses occurs in a context where historical and structural inequalities underlie the relationship between the two groups, and the way these women negotiate their crossing of ethnic, religious and social borders under these circumstances. Studying Jewish-Palestinian intermarriage enhances our understanding of intermarriages between spouses who differ in ethnicity, religion and culture, and in which one spouse belongs to an indigenous—not immigrant—minority; it also enhances our understanding of the intersectionality of ethnicity, religion and gender in the context of intermarriage where gender relations are tightly controlled by society. Using in-depth interviews with ten Palestinian women married to Jewish men, the findings reveal that social change and educational expansion were the main factors underlying the appearance of ethno-mixed marriage among Palestinian women in Israel. Nevertheless, endogamy weakened among the selected group, where several social factors facilitated intermarriage. Negotiating spousal family relations was affected mainly by the way in which Israeli society defines, constructs, and perpetuates the ethnic and religious borders and the inclusionary-exclusionary relations with the Arab minority. This explains why, despite the social change taking place among Palestinians in Israel, very few of these types of marriages take place.

Happily-Ever After: Self-Married Women, The Claim of Wellness and Temporal Ownership

Kinneret Lahad, Michal Kravel-Tovi

Tel-Aviv University, Israel

For the last decade, Self-Marriage is becoming an exponentially growing phenomenon worldwide. Understudied by scholars and often ridiculed by social commentators, Self-Marriage, so we argue, offers single women to formulate new powerful relationship with their self by formulating new relationship to time, constituting what we call temporal ownership. Drawing on textual analysis of Self-Marriage accounts, given by Self-Married women as well as Self-Marriage gurus and entrepreneurs, we offer a threefold temporal analysis. First, while the singlehood experience of women is often understood to be revolving around waiting - for prince charming and a happy future - Self-Marriage is recounted as an assertion of a meaningful and whole present, significant in and of itself. Secondly, while singlehood is often understood as a “raw” and orderless time, lacking structured timelines and temporal benchmarks, Self-Marriage brings with it the promise of a temporal horizon, and within it, an inclusion within adulthood. In this vein, Self-Marriage punctuates and measures time by creating visible and accumulating anniversaries and movement towards future selves. Thirdly, because Self-Marriage is idealized as a lifelong commitment to a “healthy relationship” with the self, it is not constituted as a transitory stage on the way to couplehood, or as a substitute to relations with potential partners. Instead, it creates, ideally, a lasting impact important in and of itself. This threefold temporal account enables us to intersect scholarship on wellness and self-making with critical time studies, and to foreground the centrality of temporal workings in neoliberal enterprises.

Patrilineal Fertility And Marital Bargaining Power In Egypt

Mariam Hamada Abouelenin

Lancaster University, United Kingdom

The Middle East remains one of the least gender-equal regions globally. It is predominantly characterized by patrilineal descent and male-dominated institutions. In particular, conjugal power relations are largely gender stratified and yet have not been examined with the increasing frequency of studies that mainly reference Western and South East Asian couples. Under Egypt’s patrilineal kinship and social structure, men occupy a dominant position in the domestic sphere. Recent years have seen a shift of focus from economic resources such as education to symbolic resources such as the birth of a son as a way of improving women’s conjugal power. Using nationally representative Egyptian data and 35 qualitative interviews, this study explores the link between patrilineal fertility and women’s conjugal power, predicted on the basis of women’s say in three household decision making domains: financial, daily and children. Drawing on resource theory, we also test whether economic resources moderate this relationship. Our findings illustrate a positive association between giving birth to a son and women’s power in daily decisions and children’s decisions. Women’s power in financial decisions, however, does not differ by patrilineal fertility status. Moreover, the associations between patrilineal fertility and decision making were moderated by economic resources, with weaker associations between patrilineal fertility and decision making being observed among economically resourceful women. This work addresses broader issues of gender inequality in the Egyptian context and underlines the sociocultural forces that shape women’s bargaining power in patriarchal societies.

Gendered (In)Equalities in Siblings Relationships Through the Life Course

Katarzyna Dębska

University of Warsaw, Institute of Sociology, Poland

A very traditional approach to family, represented e.g. by Parsons, assumes that family functions in a significantly different mode than the rest of society which is permeated by relations based on universalistic values of meritocracy. However, the public discourse around upbringing more than one child emphasized the importance on equal treatment of siblings. Popular interpretation of this suggestion refers to the necessity of creating an independent successful adult. In the experience of adult siblings, the need of equality between them is usually portrayed in a more nuanced way. In my presentation, I will sketch the scope of understanding and experiencing (in)equality by brothers and sisters in their childhood and adulthood. My analysis is concentrated around gender, however, I also take into account class and generation factors. I claim that the dynamics of siblings relationships, lasting from the very beginning of younger sibling’s life usually through the whole life span of individuals, reveals the ways of constructing gender division and sustaining or undermining patriarchal domination. The presentation is based on an analysis of biographical narrative interviews and in-depth ones with adult siblings (both in the same-sex arrangement as well as brother-sister one). Studying siblings relations reveals in terms of gender and (in)equalities also reveals how class positions and generation belonging influence the construction of masculinities and feminities.