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The Transitional Woman: A Case Study of Values in the Context of an Arabic/Islamic Society

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The purpose of this paper is fourfold. It is first in a series of studies designed to examine: 1) Rokeach's Terminal and Instrumental Values typology in the context of non-Western culture, specifically Arab/Islam of the United Arab Emirates, 2) whether there are emerging (perhaps transitional) family and female typologies based on these value sets, 3) the relationship between outside forces (the economy and public policy for example) and the family, and 4) it is also meant to gather questions for future study.

The paper is based on a survey of students at the all-female Zayed University in Dubai. The results suggested differences between groups of students with respect to Rokeach's Terminal and Instrumental Values. Environmental factors that seem to influence these differences included religion, education, urbanization, and the changing role of women in society.

Findings suggest that Rokeach's values system must be rephrased, gathering terms bound to Arabic/Islamic Society to determine what terms are synonymous and what are not. Before the questions of whether a new value system is emerging in the modernizing Arab/Islamic world, where that value system is coming from, and how values are generated can be studied, the old value system must be known. Determining these benchmarks, then, is the next step in what could be a rich, rewarding stream of work adding to multi-cultural understanding.


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