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Between obedience and rebellion: a field study on the young women of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Between obedience and rebellion: a field study on the young women of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Between obedience and rebellion: a field study on the young women of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
This research explores the perceptions young Saudi women in Jeddah have of their lives. It seeks to uncover the role and different degrees that obedience and rebellion feature in the everyday lives of the young Saudi women in Jeddah. The subjects of the research were young Saudi women aged 16-21, all living in Jeddah at the time of the study and studying at either high school or university. The study employed a qualitative methodology to identify the extent of obedience and rebellion and their manifestations in the young women’s daily lives.

The research relied on in-depth semi-structured interviews as the principal data collection method. By analysing the data derived from this process, I sought to explore the range, subtleties and continuum of rebellion and obedience in terms of three major themes: Hijab, gender relations, and young women’s private spaces. The study found that the participants associated Hijab with high social and religious values and had great respect for it. The conceptualization and practice of wearing Hijab, was associated with freedom and access to ‘the public sphere’ for many participants.

In contrast, the study found that Qiwama (Guardianship), a religious Islamic concept that regulates family life, was much less respected by the participants, at least in its traditionalist incarnation that prevails in Saudi Arabia. The traditional Qiwama, per the findings, is a patriarchal structure that results in the reproduction of the social reality that marginalizes women, relegating them to follower status. The female participants rejected this as an incorrect interpretation of religious text. A majority of participants also pointed out that the definition of rebellion differs from one generation to the next. In fact, the participants noted that the actions of young Saudi women that are often classified as rebellious are actually demands for personal rights and an attempt to remove some of the restrictions they face in a subtle way that does not directly clash with family, religion and state policy.

This study is important because it represents the unique contribution of giving a voice to young Saudi women to narrate their experiences and explore their ways of subtly negotiating with or conforming to social realities and by so doing enables the examination of the connections between obedience, rebellion, or subtle negotiation.
Aljaouhari, Sahar
86ca3a41-659c-4058-8930-1ada04cd9f15
Aljaouhari, Sahar
86ca3a41-659c-4058-8930-1ada04cd9f15
Mcghee, Derek
63b8ae1e-8a71-470c-b780-2f0a95631902
Shah, Bindi
c5c7510a-3b3d-4d12-a02a-c98e09734166

Aljaouhari, Sahar (2014) Between obedience and rebellion: a field study on the young women of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. University of Southampton, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Applied Social Sciences, Doctoral Thesis, 294pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This research explores the perceptions young Saudi women in Jeddah have of their lives. It seeks to uncover the role and different degrees that obedience and rebellion feature in the everyday lives of the young Saudi women in Jeddah. The subjects of the research were young Saudi women aged 16-21, all living in Jeddah at the time of the study and studying at either high school or university. The study employed a qualitative methodology to identify the extent of obedience and rebellion and their manifestations in the young women’s daily lives.

The research relied on in-depth semi-structured interviews as the principal data collection method. By analysing the data derived from this process, I sought to explore the range, subtleties and continuum of rebellion and obedience in terms of three major themes: Hijab, gender relations, and young women’s private spaces. The study found that the participants associated Hijab with high social and religious values and had great respect for it. The conceptualization and practice of wearing Hijab, was associated with freedom and access to ‘the public sphere’ for many participants.

In contrast, the study found that Qiwama (Guardianship), a religious Islamic concept that regulates family life, was much less respected by the participants, at least in its traditionalist incarnation that prevails in Saudi Arabia. The traditional Qiwama, per the findings, is a patriarchal structure that results in the reproduction of the social reality that marginalizes women, relegating them to follower status. The female participants rejected this as an incorrect interpretation of religious text. A majority of participants also pointed out that the definition of rebellion differs from one generation to the next. In fact, the participants noted that the actions of young Saudi women that are often classified as rebellious are actually demands for personal rights and an attempt to remove some of the restrictions they face in a subtle way that does not directly clash with family, religion and state policy.

This study is important because it represents the unique contribution of giving a voice to young Saudi women to narrate their experiences and explore their ways of subtly negotiating with or conforming to social realities and by so doing enables the examination of the connections between obedience, rebellion, or subtle negotiation.

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Sahar Aljaouhari_ Revised Thesis.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Published date: November 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 371740
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/371740
PURE UUID: 2891c6ef-aefb-494f-b4d1-36a33c1ac3c7
ORCID for Derek Mcghee: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3226-6300
ORCID for Bindi Shah: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5571-9755

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Nov 2014 12:36
Last modified: 26 Oct 2019 00:33

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