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Sociology of Masculinity in the Middle East

By Hossein Adibi


Analysis of masculinities in the Middle East is relatively a new field of study and research. Globalisation and growing cultural influences of the West are creating new challenges in this part of the world. In a post 9/11/2001 environment, Western popular cultures depict the Muslim male from this region as an existential threat. Yet Middle Eastern Islam is in the grip of powerful changes. Masculinity as a social construct may take a variety of forms in the Middle East. Some are tolerated by the larger society, while others may incur serious consequences. Yet gender, as social construction, in the Middle East is certainly shaped by, and works within, a patriarchal society; and Islamist masculinity is grounded within cultural institutions and has endured through cultural practices. This paper aims to discuss this process and make Muslim masculinities visible in the Middle East, and to elaborate on the future trends of gender and masculinity in this region. The future trend in the Middle East indicates that economic and cultural forces of globalization combined with demographics will strongly influence reconstruction of masculinity and gender roles in this region. While political change may take place rapidly, attitudes towards gender equality are changing more slowly. Social factors leading to intensification of the growing disparity among social classes will hinder the progress towards the gender equality

Topics: 160805 Social Change, Middle East, masculinity, gender equality
Publisher: Centre for Social Change Research, School of Humanities and Human Services, QUT
Year: 2006
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