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ENDURING TENSIONS: THE PRESSURES OF MODERNITY AND THE HOLD OF TRADITION IN THE LIVES OF QATARI WOMEN

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abstract
My thesis explores the relationship between gender and modern nation-building in Qatar and analyzes how Qatari women are negotiating the challenges of modern development and social change. I address the questions of how the state of Qatar’s modern nation-building projects utilize representations of women and gendered developmental initiatives to fulfill state aims and agendas, and how Qatari women are balancing the pressures of modernization with “traditional” social norms and expectations. My research engages with scholarly discussion of the relationship between gender and modern nation-building in the Middle East and builds on the works of scholars such as Madawi Al-Rasheed, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Deniz Kandiyoti. I also present a qualitative research study on Qatari women derived from personal field research that engages with existing scholarship on Qatar. My thesis is divided into two major parts. In Part I, I demonstrate how the Qatari state is utilizing gendered nation-building projects and representations of women as both symbols of tradition and markers of modernity to facilitate modern development and construct a national identity. I argue that the state of Qatar is relying upon women’s increased participation in higher education and the workforce to fulfill developmental initiatives and broader political agendas, while simultaneously promoting social and cultural norms that restrict women’s roles in society to combat the perception that the nation is losing its cultural identity. In Part II, I present a qualitative research study that addresses the questions of how Qatari women are responding to the state’s gendered initiatives and dualistic expectations, engaging with state conceptualizations of modernity and tradition, and negotiating social and religious gender norms and expectations. I argue that Qatari women express a desire to embrace what they perceive as positive aspects of modernization while maintaining established gender paradigms, certain “traditional” social and religious values, and an authentic cultural identity. In addition, I argue that the discourses of Qatari women both reflect and resist state discourses related to modernity and tradition.
subject
Arabian Gulf
Gender
Modernity
Qatar
Qatari Women
Tradition
contributor
Liloia, Alainna (author)
van Doorn-Harder, Pieternella (committee chair)
Ramachandran, Tanisha (committee member)
Browers, Michaelle (committee member)
date
2018-05-24T08:35:44Z (accessioned)
2018-05-24T08:35:44Z (available)
2018 (issued)
degree
Religion (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/90682 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
ENDURING TENSIONS: THE PRESSURES OF MODERNITY AND THE HOLD OF TRADITION IN THE LIVES OF QATARI WOMEN
type
Thesis

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