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Segregation, Illegitimate Encounters and Contextual Moralities: Sexualities in the Changing Public Sphere in Aden

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This article asks what new things can be learned about the public sphere when looking at sexualities. In this ethnographic study on the Yemeni port town of Aden, at focus are institutions that organise sexualities, such as segregation, and agency indicative to a particular public sphere. The article is centred upon the following question: how do 'ordinary' (i.e. non-activist) women participate in making the public sphere? By comparing three different periods of history in Aden, as well as the capacities and resources that have been available for women to express their sexuality, this article aims to highlight aspects of the public that remain invisible in studies that neglect this important area of daily life. This comparison on the level of the public sphere is made possible by adopting a critical perspective on the notion of generations that treats such entities not as neat groups but as atmospheres that subjects agree were indicative to the era of their coming of age.

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