The Nationalization of Marriage in Monarchical Egypt<sup>1</sup>

Hanan Kholoussy

in Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9789774249006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971006 | DOI:
The Nationalization of Marriage in Monarchical Egypt1

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This chapter extends empirically and conceptually one of the most dynamic categories of Egyptian historiography related to gender roles. It focuses on the post-1919 state's unparalleled intervention in marital relations. Making extensive use of debates in the press, in the legislature, and among intellectuals, this chapter argues that Egyptian nationalist reformers sought to redefine marriage in order to create a nuclear family as the foundation for a nation free of the perceived social ills of polygamy and male-initiated divorce. Likewise, it reveals how Egyptian writers used marriage to critique their society through prescriptions for modernity. This chapter contributes to the historical understanding of marriage in monarchical Egypt; it also demonstrates how this important social institution can be used to reconceptualize Egyptian nationalism, with theoretical ramifications for other national contexts.

Keywords: marital relations; Egyptian nationalist reformers; nuclear family; polygamy; divorce; monarchical Egypt

Chapter.  16582 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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