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

Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar

Drawing on rich interview material and adopting a life history approach, this book examines the agency of women living in insecure and uncertain conflict situations. It explores the effects of the Israeli policy of closure against Gaza and the resulting humanitarian crisis in relation to gender relations and gender subjectivity.

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. Without conflating women’s agency with resistance to patriarchy, Agency and Gender in Gaza extends the concept of agency to include its subjective and intersubjective elements, shedding light on the recent distortion of the traditional gender order and the reasons for which women resist the masculine power that they have acquired as a result.

An empirically grounded examination of the attempt to maintain the meaning of social existence through the preservation of socially constructed images of masculinity and femininity, this book will be of interest to social scientists with interests in gender studies, masculinities and the sociology of the family.


‘Aitemad Muhanna's book gives us a vivid account of the everyday struggles of women and men in Gaza in the face of the brutality of the Israeli regime. Its exploration of the impact on gendered expectations of a highly unstable and insecure economic and political context offers some important wider insights about gender, agency and resistance.’ - Andrea Cornwall, University of Sussex, UK

‘Aitemad Muhanna has not only made a significant contribution to Palestinian and regional gender studies but has opened up new avenues for understanding gender and (colonial) conflict through her explorations of the crises in both masculinity and femininity experienced by Palestinian women and men struggling to survive in vulnerable circumstances and negotiate spousal relations during Israel’s sustained siege on Gaza.’ - Penny Johnson, Editor, Review of Women’s Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine

Launch Event

On Monday 20 January 2014, the LSE MEC will host Dr Aitemad Muhanna for seminar discussing the findings of her latest book.

Event Details

Speaker: Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, 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.

For full details, please visit the event page.|


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