Citizenship, Civil Society and Women in the Arab Region


Civil society
Arab women

How to Cite

Moghadam, V. M. (1). Citizenship, Civil Society and Women in the Arab Region. Al-Raida Journal, 12-21.


As issues of citizenship and civil society have taken center-stage in recent years – partly as a result of the challenges of globalization, and partly as a result of democratic struggles in various parts of the world – the question of women’s citizenship has assumed prominence. Some feminist scholars stress the longstanding struggle of women for rights and empowerment (Lister, 1997; Narayan, 1997; Yuval-Davis, 1999). Others argue that the autonomous, rights-bearing citizen is a Western construct, and that citizenship and  civil society are patriarchal and capitalistic constructs (Pateman, 1988). Nevertheless, rights, citizenship, civil society, and democratization are increasingly in demand in developing countries, including the Arab world. For women, citizenship concerns social standing, political participation, and national membership. Empirically, women’s citizenship is reflected in their legal status, in access to employment and income, in the extent of their participation in formal politics, and in the formation of women’s organizations.


Al-Azmeh, Aziz. 1993. Islam and Modernities. London: Verso.

Clark, Janine A. 2000. “The Economic and Political Impact of Economic Restructuring on NGO-State Relations in Egypt.” Pp. 157-179 in Remonda Bensabat Kleinberg and Janine A. Clark, eds., Economic Liberalization,

Democratization and Civil Society in the Developing World. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Fakhro, Mounira. 1997. “Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Middle East: Reflections on the Gulf.” The Middle East Women’s Studies Review (vol. XI, no. 4, January): 1-3.

Hinnebusch, Raymond A. 2000. “Liberalization Without Democratization in ‘Post-Populist’ Authoritarian States.” Pp. 123-145 in Nils A. Butenschon, Uri Davis, and Manuel Hassassian, eds., Citizenship and the State in the Middle East. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Ibrahim, Saad eddin. 1992. The New Arab Social Order: A Study of the Impact of Oil Wealth. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Janoski, Thomas. 1998. Citizenship and Civil Society: A Framwork of Rights and Obligations in Liberal, Traditional, and Social Democratic Regimes. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Kandiyoti, Deniz. 1997. “Beyond Beijing: Obstacles and Prospects for the Middle East.” Pp. 3-10 in Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika Friedl, eds., Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation. Syracuse University Press.

Lister, Ruth. 1997. Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives. London: Macmillan.

Marshall, T.H. 1964. Citizenship and Social Class. Cambridge University Press.

Moghadam, Valentine M. 1993. Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

——-. 1998. Women, Work, and Economic Reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

——-. 2000. “Transnational Feminist Networks: Collective Action in an Era of Globalization.” International Sociology, vol. 15, no. 3 (March): 57-85.

——-. 2001. “Organizing Women: The New Women’s Movement in Algeria.” Cultural Dynamics 13 (2): 131-154.

Narayan, Uma. 1997. “Towards a Feminist Vision of Citizenship: Rethinking the Implications of Dignity, Political Participation, and Nationality.” Pp. 48-67 in May Lyndon Shanley and Uma Narayan (eds.), Reconstructing Political Theory: Feminist Perspectives. London: Polity Press.

Pateman, Carol. 1988. The Sexual Contract. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Sharabi, Hisham. 1988. Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turner, Bryan. 1990. “Outline of a Theory of Citizenship.” Sociology, vol. 24, no. 2: 189-217.

——-. 2000. “Islam, Civil Society, and Citizenship.” Pp. 28-28 in Nils A. Butenschon, Uri Davis, and Manuel Hassassian, eds., Citizenship and the State in the Middle East. New York: Syracuse University Press.

WEDO. 1998. Mapping Progress: Assessing Implementation of the Beijing Platform 1998. New York: WEDO.

Walzer, Michael. 1998. “The Civil Society Argument.” Pp. 291 – 308 in Gershon Shafir, ed., The Citizenship Debates. University of Minnesota Press.

Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1997. Gender and Nation. Thousand Oaks: Sage.


Download data is not yet available.