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The Politics of Group Weddings in Palestine: Political and Gender Tensions

Islah Jad
Journal of Middle East Women's Studies
Vol. 5, No. 3, War and Transnational Arab Families (Fall 2009), pp. 36-53
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2979/mew.2009.5.3.36
Stable URL:
Page Count: 18
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The Politics of Group Weddings in Palestine: Political and Gender Tensions
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ABSTRACT Group Islamic weddings in the West Bank and Gaza began in the mid-1990s. They developed as a successful way to counter Israel's policy of siege and impoverishment of Palestinian society through the economic benefits they offer and by introducing a spirit of collective joy. Yet they have become a site of conflict between the two main political rivals, Hamas and Fateh, and they also have implications for gender relations. Women are not passive observers of the conflict between the two parties and the new traditions and rituals these parties are inventing. Women are actively involved in creating more space for themselves by resisting certain Islamist initiatives, polygyny in particular. Even as they demonstrate resistance and agency, however, the political context in which Islamist and nationalist group weddings occur is unfavorable to women, as both forms lead to more segregated gender roles at their expense.

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