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Gendering the Arab Spring 1

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The article discusses the gendered implications of recent political developments in the region. It argues that women and gender are key to both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary processes and developments and not marginal to them. It explores the significance of women’s involvement, the historical context of women’s political participation and marginalization in political transition. Theoretically, developments in the region point to the centrality of women and gender when it comes to constructing and controlling communities, be they ethnic, religious or political; the significance of the state in reproducing, maintaining and challenging prevailing gender regimes, ideologies, discourses and relations; the instrumentalization of women’s bodies and sexualities in regulating and controlling citizens and members of communities; the prevalence of gender-based violence; the historically and cross-culturally predominant construction of women as second-class citizens; the relationship between militarization and a militarized masculinity that privileges authoritarianism, social hierarchies and tries to marginalize and control not only women but also non-normative men.

Affiliations: 1: University of London, UK Email: N.S.Al-Ali@soas.ac.uk

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