Defiance and Compliance: Negotiating Gender in Low-Income Cairo

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The gap between rich and poor is widening in most countries, putting more pressure on women in particular who often find themselves with the ultimate responsibility to provide for their families, especially their children, in the face of economic and political discrimination. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews in four low-income neighborhoods in Cairo, this book offers rich, novel and intimate data relating to poor women's lives and everyday forms of resistance to gender inequalities in the labor market and at home. In contrast to the common stereotype of Middle Eastern women as totally oppressed and devoid of agency, this study shows the complex and diverse ways in which low-income women devise strategies to contest existing gender arrangements and improve their situation. It is a significant contribution to current debates about poverty, gender, power, and resistance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571813909
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Series: New Directions in Anthropology Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 290
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Heba El-Kholy is a development professional and social anthropologist. An Egyptian, she was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. She holds a PhD. in Anthropology and Sociology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a Masters degree in development Sociology from Cornell University. Over the past 18 years, she has worked in the Arab world as a development practitioner, activist, researcher and programme advisor with a number of regional and international organizations, including the Ford Foundation, the Canadian International Devplopment Agency (CIDA), and International Quality International. She has published numerous articles related to development and poverty and is a founder and board member of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women, (ADEW), in Egypt. Dr. El-Kholy currently lives and works in New York where she is Policy Advisor at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

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Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration
Introduction: A Personal Trajectory 1
1 Rethinking Approaches to Resistance, Power and Gender Relations: Towards a Theoretical Framework 12
2 The Macrocontext: an Overview of Sociopolitical and Economic Transformations in Egypt 31
3 The Research Setting and Characteristics of the Study Community 46
4 Ethnography in One's Native City: Research Approach, Methods, and Fieldwork Encounters 62
5 Premarital Standards and Expectations 84
6 Marriage Transactions and Negotiations 101
7 Defiance and Acquiescence in The Labor Market 131
8 Conjugal Arrangements and Sexuality 167
9 Intrahousehold Decisions and Extrahousehold Networks 192
Conclusion: Toward an "Organic Feminism" 217
Tables 230
Map. 1 Map of Cairo 231
App. 1: Description of Study Population 232
App. 2: Guiding Research Questions 235
Bibliography 237
Index 259
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