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Between Marriage And The Market: Intimate Politics And Survival In Cairo

by Homa Hoodfar

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Book Description
Homa Hoodfar's richly detailed ethnography provides a rare glimpse into the daily life of Arab Muslim families. Focusing on the impact of economic liberalization policies from 1983 to 1993, she shows the crucial role of the household in survival strategies among low-income Egyptians. Hoodfar, an Iranian Muslim by birth, presents research that undermines many of the stereotypes associated with traditional Muslim women. Their apparent conservatism, she says, is based on rational calculation of the costs and benefits of working within formal and informal labor markets to secure household power. She posits that increasing adherence to Islam and taking up the veil on the part of women has been partially motivated by women's desire to protect and promote their interests both within and beyond households.

Card catalog description
Between Marriage and the Market takes the reader into the Muslim home for a rare and intimate glimpse of the modern-day Muslim family. An Iranian Muslim by birth, Homa Hoodfar investigates the lives of poor families in Cairo over the course of a decade's research, documenting an Arab culture seldom understood by outsiders. She goes beyond ideology and religion to show how marital politics and survival strategies play a key role in maintaining the cohesiveness of low-income families. Poor women and their households, by adopting strategies to enhance marital security and by exercising control over their labor, consumption patterns, and fertility, achieve and maintain socioeconomic status. In this way, they also exercise far-reaching influence on Egyptian economy and society.

From the Inside Flap
"There is a great need for material on the Middle East that . . . makes sense of how ordinary men and women weigh their choices, bargain, and decide what is best for themselves and their families. Hoodfar presents fascinating and original material that suggests new boundaries for what research can be considered 'economic.'"--Christine Eickelman, author of Women and Community in Oman

About the Author
Homa Hoodfar is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University.



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