Malalay's sisters: women's public visibility in 'post war/reconstruction' Afghanistan

Billaud, Julie (2010) Malalay's sisters: women's public visibility in 'post war/reconstruction' Afghanistan. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the modalities and conditions of Afghan women’s reappearance in the public domain following the downfall of the Taliban regime. Based on a twelvemonth ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2007 among different groups of women (women MPs, women’s rights activists, female University Students) mostly based in Kabul, I study women’s responses to various social anxieties that have emerged as a consequence of this new visibility. I argue that while the current ‘reconstruction’ project has opened new possibilities for women and created new imaginaries pertaining to their role in society, the ideological framework (i.e liberal notions of equality and human rights etc.) on which it is grounded together with the strong military presence of foreign troops, have fuelled tensions at different levels of the Afghan society. Pressurized by their community to remain faithful to their ‘culture’, ‘religion’ and ‘tradition’ on one hand, and encouraged to access the public and become ‘visible’ by global forces on the other hand, women have been left with little choice but to adapt and find alternative ways to preserve a sense of autonomy. I describe these tactics as ‘oppositional practices of everyday life’ (De Certeau 1984), i.e complex practices of dissimulation which under the necessary appearance of compliance and conformity allow women to reconfigure social norms and create new spaces for themselves. More generally, this work engages with issues such as nationalism, Islam, gender, veiling, modernity, agency, rights and the public sphere.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
K Law > K Law in General. Comparative and uniform Law. Jurisprudence
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2010
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 13:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2396
Google Scholar:0 Citations

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