The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question

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Routledge, 1994 - 270 pages
The Eloquence of Silence provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of gender relations in Algeria from the pre-colonial era to the present. By tracing the changes in women's roles, Marnia Lazreg illuminates the achievements as well as the setbacks that characterize women's lives in contemporary Africa and makes an important contribution to ongoing feminist debates about how to conceptualize the experience of women whose history, culture and nationality are "different." Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book marks a major departure from more traditional studies of Algerian women which usually examine female roles in relation to Islam. Lazreg argues that Algerian women's roles are shaped by a variety of structural and symbolic factors including colonial domination, demographic change, nationalism, socialist development policy of the 1960s and '70s, family formation and the progressive shift to a capitalist economy. Special attention is given to the rise of fundamentalism and its impact on gender relations. Covering both pre-colonial and colonial eras as well as the independence period, this book focuses on the changes that took place in family structure and law, customs, education and the war of decolonization. Lazreg approaches the post-colonial era through an examination of how Algeria's model of economic development, structural adjustment policies and the rise of religious-political opposition affected women.

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