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Chapter 2

SOCC29H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Liberal Feminism, Body Politic, G1 Phase

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Salem Rania

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Readings, Week 2
Joseph Suad, 2008. Familism and Critical Arab Family Studies
The Problem: The Family and Critical Arab Family Studies
- Women had to be freed from the patriarchal family to bene&t from the
liberalist project
- Important to query why Arab family studies have not had more of an
impact on cross cultural and theoretical studies of family
oLittle rigorous empirical research on Arab families exist
- Why are critical studies of Arab families and of family change in Arab
societies lacking?
oArgues—Arab societies in which states are perceived to be
distant or oppressive, “the Arab” family has been insulated from
critical study of the sort waged by second wave feminists on the
US family
oFactors associated with this gap
1. Socio-political centrality of “the” Arab family
2. Non-liberalist political projects of the self
3. The priorities of Arab feminist movements
Socio-Political Centrality as Sociological Marginality
- Family is an idea and concept that is relatively recent
-David M. Schneider (1984) argued, pre-state societies did not
speci&cally identify “family as a unit, nor did they equate “family” with
women and children
- Why and how such boundaries (social, political, economic, public)
arose and became valued in other societies
oControlling power of boundaries and controlling power of the
- Boundaries between the state, civil society and kinship were
historically invented, institutionalized, legalized, and naturalized in
Western states
- Both legal and cultural assumptions that boundaries are “good” have
emerged in most Western states
- Creation of boundaries in Western states was rooted in a political
strategy of social control
- Critical sociological studies of the family in the US, have to remake the
case that the family is not separate from politics, economics, social
organization or religion
- Boundaries between state, civil society, and kinship in Arab societies
were imposed through colonialist and top-down state-building action
oMore recent and =uid. Legal and cultural legitimacy is more
- Arab states:
oAllowed expansive space for families to occupy
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