Gender Studies

States and Women’s Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco

Mounira M. Charrad, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 341 pages.

In her preface, Mounira Charrad traces the genesis of her study to her concerns as a sociologist regarding the inadequate analytical models used to account for the origin of political organization in the “predominantly classbased and capitalist societies” Maghribi societies. Charrad proposes “kinship” and tribal ties as more appropriate sociological categories for acquiring a good understanding of the foundations of social relations in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. She focuses on three distinct historical periods: precolonial, colonial, and post-independence. Her investigation centers on documenting the historical relationship between the process of nationbuilding and state-formation, and the codification and articulation of a unified family law that replaced numerous (and sometimes conflicting) forms of customary law competing with Islamic law.

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