Women in Contemporary Syria: Culture, Power and Politics

Our study focuses on the changing social roles of Syrian women as a result of the uprising in 2011. Our focus is on the ways in which women have begun to occupy the public sphere and generate new public roles as agents of change. Our suggestion is that in rejecting the conventional social roles of women in Syria, women are beginning to re-shape their understanding of gender and are pushing for a fresh understanding of gender roles in contemporary Syria. In order to explore the changing social roles of women, we will consider two case studies in detail: the female-led political organisation Women Now for Development, which was set up in 2012, and a documentary which was shot, directed and produced by a female filmmaker and went on to achieve international recognition and acclaim, For Sama (Dir. Waad Al-Kateab). These examples will be considered in the light of the social theory of change, which examines the nature of the public sphere (Jurgen Habermas), ideas of social action (Max Weber) and power in the public sphere (Hannah Arendt). 

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