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Mitchell, Jane (2005) Representations of Change and Gender Identity: A Study of Women in Egyptian Cinema 1959-1998. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis identifies the extent to which roles for women in film changed alongside socio-economic shifts and ideological transformations in the country and considers how cultural conditions contribute to the demarcation of gender roles and cultural identity. It analyses the representation of female protagonists in Egyptian films by looking at their position in the narrative structure and their treatment within the filmic discourse. It also examines to what extent this is a reflection of reality with particular emphasis on the position of women in society. It looks at the ancestry of female protagonists but its focus is films made after 1970. Many films made after 1970 present a society in conflict and transition. When President Sadat modified the personal status law in 1979 he was the first Egyptian Head of State to address this highly controversial area of family life since the 1920s. As the public examined the 'appropriate' place for women in society, conflicting trends competed for women's attentions. This thesis illustrates to what extent the films are a reflection of events: if they are a celebration of women's newly acquired freedom and a rejection of tradition, or if they reflect a move back to patriarchy with the growth of Islamism. In the 1980s women began to emerge as directors and gained access to the symbolic order. Each chapter analyses a pair of films with a similar theme. Where possible, one film is directed by a man and the other by a woman. This thesis, therefore, is also structured as a comparative study of the representation of women on screen by male and female directors.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 16:54

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