By Colette Harris
Keep an eye on and Subversion makes a tremendous contribution to the research of Muslim societies usually, whereas additionally being a distinct research of a ignored zone – post-Soviet Tajikistan – a rustic gaining expanding significance within the foreign enviornment of valuable Asia. The booklet provides an intimate view of this society, instructed via ethnographically amassed lifestyles histories, surprisingly together with men’s in addition to women’s. regardless of constructing major gender theories (notably reframing paintings of Judith Butler), and keeping excessive educational criteria, it is still as readable as a favored novel. keep an eye on and Subversion investigates the connection of gender to the interior workings of social keep watch over, comparable to exposing ways that Tajik society threatens men’s masculinity, thereby bringing them to strength relatives into conformity, regardless of the discomfort this can reason. It examines how masculine and female gender features effect own relationships and explores gender kinfolk at their so much intimate – from the key musings of adolescent women, during the painful stories of younger males, to the trauma of sexual initiation. even supposing principally targeting modern existence, the publication additionally discusses ancient fabrics and Soviet impact on Tajik society. keep watch over and Subversion is key analyzing for an individual drawn to relevant Asia, Muslim societies, the lives of Muslim girls, or gender in a Muslim context.
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Additional info for Control and Subversion: Gender Relations in Tajikistan (Anthropology, Culture and Society)
In Central Asia the fact that such gender norms are not necessarily always and solely directly linked to Islam in people’s minds is borne out by the fact that many of those who consider themselves atheists still believe it vital to adhere to them (such as Malik, Chapters 4–6). As can be seen from this brief discussion, there is a significant gulf between the scriptures and the everyday beliefs of the average Muslim. At least as much as other Muslims, Tajiks tend to conflate Islamic and local customary laws, and many of the problems described in this book arise from this.
From the start of the 1960s, in response to improved living conditions coupled with the government’s strong pronatalist policies, Tajikistan’s population began to rise steeply (Harris 2002). The surplus of un- and underemployed young men this created was a significant contributory factor to the violence that dogged the republic for much of the 1990s. In August 1991 the Soviet Union disintegrated and on 9 September Tajikistan declared its independence. The ensuing economic collapse precipitated struggles between, on the one hand a coalition of the newly established democratic, nationalist and Islamic parties looking for religious and intellectual freedom, and the Communist Party and their followers on the other.
Although men are supposed to be more dominant than women of their own age and generation, they are subordinate to both older men and women. Tajik men can usually exert control over older women only in the direct matter of the latter breaching the code of family honour (Chapter 3). For the rest, the superior power resides with the older person rather than with the dominant sex. From the books of Donish (1960) and the Nalivkins (see Chapter 2 this volume) it can be seen that before the revolution wealth and social position could make a very real contribution to the performance of gender, upsetting the usual male/female, older/younger dominant/subordinate positions.