Moving Beyond Culturalism and Formalism: Islam, Women, and Political Unrest in the Middle East


Çavdar, Gamze, and Yavuz Yaşar. 2014. “Moving Beyond Culturalism and Formalism: Islam, Women, and Political Unrest in the Middle East.” Feminist Economics 20 (4): 33–57. doi:10.1080/13545701.2014.933858.


Scenes of political unrest throughout the Middle East are often coupled with media reports and public debates in the United States that have a recurring theme: the relationship between women and Islam. After discussing the culturalist accounts that portray women as being in grave danger from Islam and in need of Western protection and supervision, this contribution examines an emerging trend in political science developed under the influence of the formalism of neoclassical economics. The study argues that despite ostensibly universal assumptions about human behavior and alleged objectivity, the theoretical foundations of neoclassical economics and its methodological formalism fall short in providing an alternative to culturalism, and, instead, reinforce the misperceptions and misunderstandings about the region.

Keywords: politics, religion, gender

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Political Economies, Religion

Year: 2014

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