ARAB YOUTH OCCIDENTALISMS: IMAGES OF THE WEST AND THE NEGOTIATION OF GENDER RELATIONS IN SYRIA AND JORDAN
AbstractBased on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews conducted in pre-civil war Syria and present day Jordan, I discuss the imageries of the West which young adults in these countries deploy in articulating their views and positions on gender relations. I suggest that Occidentalist images of Western gender relations are evoked both to justify local norms that limit gender interaction and regulate dating, as well as to negotiate them. On one hand, the segment of the youth who emphasize their Muslim identity are re-inventing ‘authentic’ Islamic traditions by evoking contrasting images of the West as promiscuous and excessively individualistic. On the other hand, those who position themselves as ‘open-minded’ contest local gender segregation practices by deploying imageries of an idealized Western freedom and modernity. The article contributes to the current discussions on modern Middle Eastern subjectivities by pointing out the Occidentalist imageries that play a role in the local definitions of modernity and tradition which are deployed in subjectivity formation.
Copyright (c) 2016 Sandra Nasser El-Dine
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