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In Yemen, where current poverty is combined with a rich cultural heritage, the distinctions between the traditional and the modern are particularly difficult.
First published in 1979, this is a study of social change as experienced and perceived by the women of San’a, the capital city of North Yemen. It presents a synthesised view of the process of change rather than focusing on the issues of exploitation and emancipation, and draws upon observations of women’s daily routine and ritual activities as well as the media and the provocative insights of Yemeni poets.
The veil is the focus of the study because it can be seen as a symbol of the contradictions inherent in Yemeni society, not just about the female but also about all social relations. It can be interpreted as both an instrument of oppression and the incitement of liberation and is thus illustrative of deep cultural ambiguities.
This book will be of interest to those studying women, gender, Islam, the Middle East and anthropology.