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Family in the Middle East
Ideational change in Egypt, Iran and Tunisia

Edited by Kathryn M. Yount, Hoda Rashad
Routledge 2008
Series: Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies

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Short Synopsis

Family in the Middle East explores, from a historical comparative perspective, the globalization of dominant myths of ‘modern’ family and society, and their effects on families in Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia. For Western social scientists from the 1700s through the mid-1900s, the dominant model for understanding societal and family change was the ‘developmental paradigm’. Accordingly, the ‘most advanced’ societies were those in Northwest Europe and its diasporas, other societies occupied ‘less advanced’ positions, and societies ‘progressed’ through the same stages of ‘development.’ Scholars since have challenged many of these early assertions, but a persistent belief in the developmental paradigm has had two potential consequences.

The volume’s rich presentation of ethnographic and survey data reveals how ordinary people in the three distinct settings have understood dominant icons of ‘modern family’ and have appropriated them to forge their own idiomatic modernities.

To date, no edited volume has explored ‘developmental myths’ as forces of family change in the Middle East. As a result the volume fills a major gap in critical family studies in and on the Middle East by offering a new, empirically-grounded framework about ‘the modern family’ icon as a force of family change. In so doing, this volume contributes uniquely to sociological debates about globalization.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction – Family Life and Ideational Change in Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia. Kathryn M. Yount, and Rashad Hoda.

Part 2: Transnationalism, Nationalism, and New Family Ideals. 1. Familism and Critical Arab Family Studies. Joseph Suad. 2. International Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Egypt, 1904-1923: A Reappraisal of Categories and Legacies. Mary Ann Fay. 3. From Birth Control to Family Planning: Population, Gender, and the Politics of Reproduction in Egypt. Laura Bier. 4. Family Law and Family Planning Policy in Pre- and Post-Revolutionary Iran. Homa Hoodfar. 5. Family Law and Ideological Debates in Post-Colonial Tunisia. Mounira Maya Charrad.

Part 3: Continuity and Change in Daily Family Life. 6. Rationales for Kin Marriages in Rural Upper Egypt. Hania Sholkamy. 7. Social Change and Parent-Adolescent Dynamics in Egypt Sahar. El Tawila, Barbara Ibrahim and Hind Wassef. 8. Reprint: Family Power and Gender Preference in Minya, Egypt. Kathryn M. Yount. 9. Divorce and the Fate of the Family in Modern Century Egypt. Kenneth Cuno. 10. The Family and Social Change in Post-Revolutionary Iran. Abbasi-Shavazi, Mohammad Jalal, Peter McDonald and Meimanat Hossein-Chavoshi. 11. From Sexual Submission to Voluntary Commitment: The Transformation of Family Ties in Contemporary Tunisia. Lilia Labidi.

Part 4: Concluding Remarks – Family Life and Ideational Change in Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia – Reconsidered. Hoda Rashad and Kathryn M. Yount.

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