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Sato, Noriko (1996) Within Eastern Walls: A Vision of Syrian Society From Within. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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My research is based on twenty months' fieldwork carried out in Qamishly in Syrian Jazirah. The purpose of my study is to examine the lives of women in this community. Why women? The relations among women in this community are close and confidences easily shared; not so, for me, among men. The network path for external communication in this society is contained almost exclusively within the male world. I wished therefore to examine the society from the inside, using the eyes of women, to determine attitudes to ethnic, sectarian and class issues. For me, as a Japanese, a particular area of interest was the extent to which women's concepts of social duty and obligation led to their individuality being subordinated. In this society, the burden of duty and obligation falls most heavily on women. The inhabitants of Jazirah fall into three main groups: local Arabs (Shawaya), Kurds and Christians which are further subdivided into tribes (Arabs and Kurds) or sects (Christians). In my study, I focus on the local Arab tribal confederation known as the Tai. The mechanism by which individuals identify themselves with their grouping, whether religious, tribal or class lies at the root of the whole network of obligations and restrictions on the behaviour of female members of society. Not only do women take care not to fall victim to rumour, speculation or gossip, which in Jazirah is elevated almost to an art form. From the point of view of individual reputation, a woman will also be under pressure from her male kin. The standing and reputation of men in society are also vulnerable to any apparent failure to keep the family women under control. Jazirah women struggle with the dual obligations of ensuring their own and their family's honour and position in society in the context of a rigid social code at the same time as expressing themselves as individual, as personalities and as women. Some succeed.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:22

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