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Abstracts of dissertations

Strategies and Practices of Resistance of Druze Women against Multiple Power Relations
Barakat, Ebtesam Hassn

Dr. orna sasson-levy & Prof. Amal Jamal
Sociology and Anthropology & Political Science
Bar-Ilan & Tel-Aviv

Year of completion in progress

language of dissertation hebrew

  • Women
  • religious
  • Strategies
  • Resistance
Areas of Research
  • Women in Society
Strategies and Practices of Resistance of Druze Women against Multiple Power Relations
Ebtesam Barakat
The term of women’s rights is location (community, culture, religion) and time dependent. For example, while religious Druze women struggle, each from her own position, to gain higher education without being excluded from the religious community; and to be able to hold a driving license and own a car in order to gain freedom of mobility both within the intra-rural and the extra-rural space, Jewish, Moslem and Christian women take those rights for granted.

The research main question is: what are the methods and strategies of operation Arab Druze women (educated or not) use to oppose the patriarchal society and the traditions based upon male interpretation of the religion’s writings, in order to improve their social and economical status.

It is the intention of this research to give voice to Druze women - the uneducated in particular -whose voice has never been brought up in academic talk. In other words, this research is innovative in exposing and comparing the strategies and methods of operation educated and uneducated Druze women use against patriarchy to improve their status. Aiming to explain the structural, social and religious contexts that mold the strategies of Druze women who vary in their level of education and occupation, within the status imposed on them as inferiors in a traditional Druze society.

The research hypothesis states that the Druze society which is a rural society segregated from the Jewish culture and from most of the Arab communities within Israel, fanatically adheres to agnation patterns of the traditional family, meaning the superiority of men over women. The political and social factors combined with the factor of the religious institution, oppress and imprison women: the geographical segregation reduces the chances of integrating Druze women in the national labor market and lessens the chances of Druze women of meeting women from other communities, and particularly from feministic associations. Therefore, Druze women lives are intersected by gender, communal, ethnic, national and even class-based oppressions. This hypothesis is based on Hill-Collins claim (1990, 221-238) stating that this oppression women suffer from, is not solely the result of the common feminine-identity but also from the Intersectionality of additional identity characteristics such as race and class, which are considered to be mechanisms of oppression not less severe than the feminine-identity based oppression.

This study is committed to feminist epistemology and methodology, which acknowledge that social status, gender, sexual orientation, race and nationality, affect the ability to recognize the power relations and the oppression of the “others” /voices that are found on the Social margins of the main stream (Devault, 1999). This study does not pursue an objective truth, but rather a life experience that can be described and narrated by the Druze subjects holding unique and significant knowledge, intending to put these women in the center and change their status from segregated to active (Harding, 1987, 7; Tuval-Mashiach & Spector-Marzel, 2010, 16 (Hebrew)).