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States and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco Hardcover – June 4, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (June 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520073231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520073234
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,139,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book is a 'must read' not only for students of North Africa, but for everyone interested in the impact of nation-building and state policies on gender relations." - Theda Skocpol, author of States and Social Revolutions "Necessary reading for those who wish to understand the role of state formation and cultural identity in diverse patterns of Muslim family law reform in North Africa, a legacy which continues to impact contemporary Muslim politics." - John L. Esposito, author of Islam and Politics"

From the Inside Flap

"Brilliantly conceptualized and thoroughly researched, Mounira Charrad's book breaks important new ground in the explanation of legal changes affecting women's rights. We learn why apparently similar countries have taken very different paths. This book is a 'must read' not only for students of North Africa, but for everyone interested in the impact of nation-building and state policies on gender relations."—Theda Skocpol, author of States and Social Revolutions

"Theoretically powerful and historically rich, this is an important study in comparative political sociology. Using the comparative method at its best to make a provocative argument about kin-based politics, Charrad gives us a new way of looking at state-building strategies."—Seymour M. Lipset, author of Political Man

"In a stunning scholarly achievement, Charrad identifies the links between Islamic legal codes, kin-based political power and the subordination of women. She traces the inner logic of political systems, showing how the different bases on which nations are built have very different implications for the rights of women."—Ann Swidler, author of Talk of Love: How Culture Matters

"Charrad adds a new dimension to the consideration of women's rights and state formation not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world. In a rigorous comparative analysis of the origins and development of women's rights in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, she demonstrates how history and politics shape family law."—Elizabeth W. Fernea, author of In Search of Islamic Feminism

"Necessary reading for those who wish to understand the role of state formation and cultural identity in diverse patterns of Muslim family law reform, a legacy which continues to impact contemporary Muslim politics."—John Esposito, author of Islam and Politics

"Charrad has offered one of the most systematic and insightful comparative analyses of the relationships between family systems, family law, and state. That the 'personal is political' becomes very concrete as she persuasively demonstrates that family relations are inseparable from state politics."—Suad Joseph, editor of Citizenship and Gender in the Middle East

"Dr. Charrad's convincingly argued and meticulously researched book raises the bar of comparative studies of gender and the State, while making a unique contribution to knowledge about the rights and status of Muslim women in general and of the women of the Maghrib in particular."—Rae Blumberg, author of Engendering Wealth and Well-being

"A new interpretation that will change the way we think about women's status and family law in North Africa."—Nancy Gallagher, author of Approaches to the History of the Middle East

"Charrad's book is a wonderful example of the strength of the comparative method . . . Her study is a major contribution to the literature on women's rights and to the tradition of historical sociology."—Randall Collins, author of Macrohistory: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run

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Format: Paperback
Advancing a political perspective of issues of law and gender, States and Women’s Rights is not only a survey into gender history and feminine rights in Maghreb areas, but also a brilliant account of the historical paths of state formation processes.
  Treating issue of family law and women’s rights as “an inherent part of the larger struggle to build a modern state in the Maghr[e]b”(p.239), Charrad argues that and that Islamic family law as a political instrument plays a critical role in maintaining tribal integrity and power (pp.80-83). They did so by regulating internal power relations inside the tribe via emphasizing masculine ties and inheritance, emphasizing inter-familial rather than conjugal relations in marriage (Ch.2) and subordinating female rights and privileges to male domination (Ch.3).
  Charrad then summarizes the problem of state-formation in kin-based areas as state’s relation with kinship and state’s penetration into social realm (pp.4-7). From a structuralist perspective, Charrad lays down the historical and colonial factors that laid the foundation of state-society relations. A tradition of hierarchical, centralized state during Turkish rule (pp.89-98) coupled by French efforts to reinforce the colonial rule meant that Tunisian tribes were much less influential in mobilization for national independence and contest of state power (pp.116-125). In Morocco, with a long history of central-local conflict (pp.103-109) and a prolonged process of gradual French domination, kin-based tribes retained much of its power (pp.139-144). In Algeria the situation was more complicated; with some tribal unions successfully undermined by the central authority while others attempting to encroach upon the “republic of cousins” (pp.
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