The War Took us Backwards: Yemeni Families and Dialectical Patriarchal Reordering


Pandya, Sophia. 2018.  "'The War Took Us Backwards:' Yemeni Families and Dialectical Patriarchal Reordering." Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 16 (1-3): 266-308.

Author: Sophia Pandya


If political activities (demonstration, revolution, war) can be understood as forms of ritual performance in which temporary social hegemonic inversions typically are followed by competing efforts to restore structure or define a new structure, then under what conditions would they offer potential for changes in family dynamics and gender roles? The past few years in Yemen have witnessed extraordinary political and socioeconomic turbulence, from the 2011 Arab Spring revolution to the 2015 brutal war. Yemeni families have been significantly impacted in myriad ways, including displacement, family separation, poverty, violence, unemployment, sectarian strife, disruption of education, and mental illness. Men and women have demonstrated a high level of public activism during the Arab Spring and the war, further altering family dynamics and the gendered social tapestry, in a highly patriarchal country. Social "disorder," including modification of gender roles, is often challenged by those desiring to restore "order," the "traditional" family structure, and patriarchy. This study analyzes gendered dimensions of the "Yemen Spring" and the subsequent war, with a particular focus on the link between gendered family dynamics and the sociopolitical landscape, also considering the role religion and religious groups play.

Keywords: Yemen, Yemen and war, Islam and gender, gender and war, ritual theory, family, family and war, religion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Religion Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2018

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