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Contesting Realities
The Public Sphere and Morality in Southern Yemen

Susanne Dahlgren

Cloth $45.00s    |    978-0-8156-3246-7    |    2010

Aden, the former capital of the only Marxist republic in the Arab world, has come back to the headlines as the scene of a popular uprising against the tribal-military rule of present-day Yemen. Tracing the social and political history of Aden since the late colonial era, Dahlgren explores the evolving ways in which the society has been established in a tension between contesting normative orders. She offers a complex picture of Adeni society in which norms for morality and propriety vary according to the context of the social space. Documenting a nuanced social flexibility, Dahlgren stresses individual agency and power to maneuver within a traditional patriarchal Muslim community.

As a resident of Aden for more than three years spanning the late years of Marxist South Yemen, Dahlgren presents the reader with an intimate portrait of Yemeni men and women in the home, in the factory, in the office, and in the street, demonstrating that Islamic societies must be understood through a multiplicity of social spheres and morality orders. Within each space, she examines the range of legal, political, religious, and social regulations that frame gender relations and social dynamics. Highlighting the diversity of women’s and men’s positions as a continuum rather than as distinct areas, Dahlgren presents a vivid picture of this dynamic society, providing an in-depth background to today’s political upheavals in Yemen.

View other books in the series Gender, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East

Susanne Dahlgren is an Academy of Finland research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. She has published numerous articles on the legal history in Yemen and on notions of Islam, morality, sexuality, and the urban space.

6 x 9, 360 pages, 22 black-and-white illustrations, 2 maps, 3 tables, appendixes, glossary, notes, references, index

Contesting Realities

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