The Impact of Economic Transformations On the Development of the Status of Women in The Arabian Gulf - The Case of Qatar and Bahrain
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Neoliberal socio-economic paradigms have become a dominant force in modern societies, including those in the Arabian Gulf region. Their rise has resulted in drastic changes within the role of states towards a focus on the market forces and capital accumulation. Seeking to transcend hydrocarbon-based rentier economic development models, many Gulf states have recently sought to shift the social and economic contractual foundations of their societies through systems of diversification, privatization, and limited social liberalization. With a focus on Qatar and Bahrain, this dissertation seeks to identify the comparative manifestations of neoliberal economic transformations in the region and explore their impact on the status of Qatari and Bahraini women respectively. Given their divergent as well as convergent historical and economic trajectories, this dissertation seeks to critically examine the socio-economic policies and politics that have generated and shaped some gendered subjectivities in both countries. More specifically and recognizing the constituent and hegemonic role of collective gendered identities in many so-called "traditional societies", this study aims to document the multifaceted and contested expressions of social and cultural identities among women in both societies. Through the analysis of the material conditions, the study investigates the discursive, real, and imagined social roles that underlie women's identity formations and cultural identifications under shifting and evolving economic conditions. Given my belief that social and cultural analysis should be grounded in economic and social history, my study applies feminist standpoint theory as well as a critical materialist approach. Standpoint theory enables me to document and interpret women's diverse perspectives and subjectivities within the dominant socio-economic structures in Gulf societies, while the critical materialist approach allows me to trace and analyze the structural conditions that have impacted modern socio-economic practices in those societies. One of the main arguments advanced in this study is that while women working under neoliberal socio-economic conditions are influenced by a market-centric discourse that encouraged individualism and independence, neoliberal ideological discourse, conversely, redefines their roles as mothers and providers of care. Although women's economic integration has come to challenge the notion of men as the sole "breadwinners" through their financial contribution to the family's well-being, patterns of patriarchy and power relations have not been transformed accordingly.
- Gulf Studies [34 items ]