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Women and National Identity in Qatar

PARVEZ, ZARQA (2021) Women and National Identity in Qatar. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 08 November 2025.


This thesis sets out to answer the question ‘How is the Qatari national identity imagined and created through the selected image and figure of the national woman?’.
It draws on post-colonial and feminist readings of national identity as a social construction to argue that the national identity-building project in Qatar has evolved as a hybrid model combining claims to local historical and traditional cultural authenticity on the one hand, and alien imported political constructs of state, nation and citizenship on the other. It has simultaneously been shaped by Qatar’s own oil-based economic and social development, by increasing integration into processes of globalisation, and by the ruling family’s determination to formalise and consolidate their own political power. In this complex nation-building project, Qatari women have been mobilised and instrumentalised around the figure of the Ideal Qatari woman. She embodies both the traditional and cultural attributes of Qatari national identity, and its advance into modernity. Yet Qatari women have not themselves been the engineer of this depiction: rather their role in the nation-building process, and the features of their national identity, have been narrated by men and by the evolving patriarchal institutions of nation state-building. Their voices are hidden in the official national narratives and their experiences only selectively remembered, their contributions deliberately forgotten. The complexities of national political and social institutions which blur the boundaries between the public and private domains, allowing patriarchal systems to extend into the construction of national identity and citizenship, allow for the decolonised inner world to be as exclusionary of women as the colonised outer world created by the imperial legacies of British rule. Through both a review of the top-down political, economic, social and institutional development processes on the one hand, and grounded, ethnographic and inductive research with Qatari women themselves, this thesis contrasts the model of the Ideal Qatari woman with the diverse experiences and everyday identities of women in Qatar, to reveal the complex realities of national identity for Qatari women today.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Nationalism, National Identity, Women, Gulf, Qatar, Post colonialism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Dec 2021 10:36

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