Gender and Space in Jordan: Boundaries and Power in a Middle Eastern Society

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Date
2004-04-22
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

A diversity of facets in the relationships between gender and space in Jordan come to light throughout this study, highlighting foremost the contentious nature running throughout the relationships between men and women as each gender attempts to shape, expand, and solidify the accepted gender roles and realms of influence within society. The study also exposes the power of issues like assumption, perception, reputation, and religious or cultural fervor in relation to discerning whether men and women can reside in or at least share the same space or whether the tensions between the genders are so great that men and women are foes who cannot peacefully cross the boundaries between spaces. For further insight into this topic of genderized space allocation, boundary maintenance, and power distribution in Jordan, the examination of the relationships between gender and space through the political, economic, educational, religious, and cultural lenses of Jordanian society offers documentation, in powerful terms and images, of the ways each element of society "political, economic, educational, religious, and cultural" supports the idea of fluidity in the boundaries between genderized public and private spaces but, paradoxically, provides even more efficient tools for increasing the rigidity and divisiveness of those same boundaries. Consequently, genders in Jordan remain divided between public and private spaces — a social reality shaped, supported, and enhanced by the interaction between both qualitative, emotion-based elements and tangible, fact-based elements.

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Keywords
Jordan, Power, Boundaries, Space Division, Gender
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