This article explores women's bargaining with a patriarchal Islamic state in Sudan. The article is situated within the realm of the literature on post-Islamism, which claims that Islamism becomes compelled both by its own internal contradictions and by societal pressure to reinvent itself through a “secular,” “democratic,” and “feminist” transformation of Islamic theology. The emergence of Islamic feminisms is thus regarded as a paradoxical consequence of the spaces that Islamism created in the course of participation in the political game. The article argues that women are continuously bargaining with patriarchy in Sudan, but the processes of renegotiating women's rights within the context of an Islamic state do not only take an Islamic feminist direction as post-Islamist scholars propose. What we see in contemporary Sudan is different types of women's (non)movements offering qualitatively different and competing interpretations of the shari'a. The processes of (re-)Islamization and post-Islamization in Sudan are thus conflated. The paradoxical consequence of Islamism in Sudan is that women's activism is seen in not only those acts that resist patriarchy, but also those acts that aim to preserve patriarchy. It is based on fieldwork in Sudan in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Is Islam a Threshold for Escape or an Insurmountable Barrier? Women Bargaining with Patriarchy in Post-Islamist Sudan
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Liv Tønnessen; Is Islam a Threshold for Escape or an Insurmountable Barrier? Women Bargaining with Patriarchy in Post-Islamist Sudan. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2010; 30 (3): 583–594. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2010-036
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