Transforming the Gender Regime: An Ethnosociological Analysis of Modernization in the North Caucasus

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Tatyana Lytkina

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Abstract

Based on four consecutive summers of fieldwork in a small mountain village in Dagestan, this paper analyzes power relations and gender roles in a traditional North Caucasian Muslim family, their dynamics, and the reasons for their contemporary reproduction or transformation. An ethnographic account of life in the village and biographical interviews with three generations of women from a typical family serve to explore women’s positions of power within the household as well as the transformation of women’s status and role in the family and the wider village community in the context of a difficult transition from a subsistence economy to a market system. Women’s status is linked to economic and social relations in the village and the family’s place in society. Social change and the transformation of the gender regime prompt young women to question traditional power relations (submission to elders and men).
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