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Agency and Gender in Gaza: Masculinity, Femininity and Family during the Second Intifada

In this talk, Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar will discuss her new book, which is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork among women and men in poor households in diverse locations in Gaza. The research was conducted in the period (2007-2008) when the prolonged closure of Gaza borders and the destruction of Gaza’s political economy caused a livelihood crisis, and the majority of Gazan households became reliant on humanitarian aid. The book explores how gender and gender relations of power in Gaza are renegotiated to develop material mechanisms of coping or resistance against the livelihood crisis, providing empirical evidence of Gazan women’s capacity to actively exercise their agency and to achieve material outcomes. 

With attention to the changing roles of men in the household and community as a result of the loss of male employment, the author explores the extension of poor women’s mobility, particularly that of young wives with dependent children, for whom the meaning of agency has shifted from being providers in the domestic sphere to becoming publicly dependent on humanitarian aid. The analysis in the book goes beyond a limited understanding of women’s agency to explore the subjective aspect of resistance through women’s agency, particularly by examining the moral meanings associated with gender subjectivity. 

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Event Details

Speaker: Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, LSE 
Chair: Dr Sumi Madhok, LSE

Date: Monday 20 January 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Location: Room 1.04, New Academic Building, LSE
Attendance: This event is free and open to all on a first come first served basis. Our events are very well attended, please make sure to arrive early. We cannot guarantee entry.



Aitemad Mehanna

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar joined the Middle East Centre in November 2012 as a Visiting Fellow to pursue her post-doctoral research on gender, religion and sustainable human development in the Gaza Strip. Since February 2013, Aitemad has been leading the centre’s research on ‘Women’s Political Participation across the Arab region’, funded by Oxfam GB.