Honor Thy Sister: Selfhood, Gender, and Agency in Palestinian Culture

Citation:

Baxter, Diane. 2007. “Honor Thy Sister: Selfhood, Gender, and Agency in Palestinian Culture.” Anthropological Quarterly 80 (3): 737-75.

Author: Diane Baxter

Abstract:

In this article, I examine the ideology of honor among West Bank Palestinians most particularly as it relates to sexuality and gender relations within families. I contend that the iconic Arab and Palestinian subject of the ideal, gendered, connected self—a central concept that undergirds most representations of honor—elides the significance of the individual and obscures the rights and strengths of women and the obligations, vulnerabilities, and anxieties of men. Beyond a critique of representations of honor, subjectivities, and patriarchy, I suggest that ideological-culturally-based explanatory models of behavior favor coherency over ambivalence and untidiness. In terms of honor and the subjectivities that inform it, such explanations have led to an over-reliance on resistance as a method of analyzing "anomalies." I argue that for Palestinian women and men, subjectivity and agency are achieved within and are a reflection of structural, ideological, and experiential configurations, rather than as resistances to them.

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexuality Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2007

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