The Kin Contract and Citizenship in the Middle East

Suad Joseph

in Women and Citizenship

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195175349
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835775 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

  The Kin Contract and Citizenship in the Middle East

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Joseph focuses on the ways in which ideas about family and family idioms, relationships, and practices ground and intersect with formal governmental policies and practices in the Middle East. Families and kinship are politically privileged in most Middle Eastern states and women and men are committed to their families in Lebanon in a manner that Joseph calls the “kin contract,” a commitment reinforced by a care/control paradigm in which familial care is often enmeshed with the control by a family system organized around aged and gendered hierarchy. In the Middle East in general, Joseph argues, the citizen-subject is embedded in kinship relationships rather than being an autonomous self. The gendered nature of the citizen-subject emerges thus from the implicit and legally encoded kin contract which reinscribes patriarchal kinship with the force of state and religious institutional and practical backing. Families are regulated in turn by state and religious institutions in Middle Eastern countries, a type of mutual support that further bolsters what she calls patriarchal connectivity—the privileging of the authority of males and elders in a system in which the boundaries of selves are often fluid and focused on relationality.

Keywords: kinship; patriarchy; relationality; self; citizenship; family; government; kin contract; age hierarchy; religious institutions

Chapter.  11241 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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