Freedom without Permission

Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: 26 illustrations Published: October 2016

Gender and Sexuality, Middle East Studies, Sociology

As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms in novel, unauthorized, and often shocking ways. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia's 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events. Essays include discussions of the blogs written by young women in Egypt, the Women2Drive campaign in Saudi Arabia, the reintegration of women into the public sphere in Yemen, the sexualization of female protesters encamped at Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout, and the embodied, performative, and artistic spaces of Morocco's 20 February Movement. Conceiving of revolution as affective, embodied, spatialized, and aesthetic forms of upheaval and transgression, the contributors show how women activists imagined, inhabited, and deployed new spatial arrangements that undermined the public-private divisions of spaces, bodies, and social relations, continuously transforming them through symbolic and embodied transgressions. 

Contributors. Lamia Benyoussef, Susanne Dahlgren, Karina Eileraas, Susana Galan, Banu Gökariksel, Frances S. Hasso, Sonali Pahwa, Zakia Salime


"Freedom Without Permission should not be read as a historical snapshot of a particular revolutionary moment, but for its insightful feminist analysis which, while firmly located in specific geopolitical cases, can nevertheless illuminate other similar instances of popular mobilisation and women’s role in revolutionary disorder." — Teodora Todorova, Antipode

"This book will certainly add to the scholarship and would be a highly informative read for those interested in deeply understanding the multiple levels and spaces in which revolution has happened in the Arab world and beyond. Freedom Without Permission is an insightful and fascinating read." — Autumn R. Cockrell-Abdullah, Journal of International and Global Studies

"Like previous works exploring the Arab revolutions, the themes of space and technology are present, but entirely new dimensions are revealed by the introduction of the female experience within those places before, during, and after the uprisings." — Middle East Journal

"This book is a valuable contribution to growing literature examining the political, aesthetic, affective, and performative dynamics associated with the Arab Uprisings of 2011–2013. . . . It is an enthusiastic, hopeful documentation of individual and collective efforts associated with the 'Arab Spring.'" — Rayya El Zein, Politics & Gender

"Freedom without Permission offers a variety of analyses and viewpoints while considering women’s bodies and spaces as sites of revolutions and uprisings. All contributing authors demonstrate an eye for detail and a strength of analysis that have shaped gender politics and the politics of gender during and after the revolutions." — Douja M. Mamelouk, Review of Middle East Studies

“The articles provide fascinating accounts of gendered and embodied politics of space that defy a reductionist approach to revolutionary insurgencies.” — Gül Aldikaçti Marshall, Gender & Society

"An important book about significant contemporary events." — Devorah Kalekin-Fishman, International Sociology Reviews

"This collection presents an important contribution not only to gender studies and Middle Eastern studies, but to the study of revolutions and social movements." — Deema Kaedbey, Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

"Filling a lacuna in the scholarship on gender and the Arab Spring, these essays approach their topics from especially sophisticated, innovative, and engaging angles, putting forward new theories and methods for thinking about the intersections of politics, gender, revolution, and feminism. Given the major significance of women to the Arab Spring revolutions, this outstanding book is more urgent than ever." — Nadine Naber, author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism

"Even though on the surface revolutions proceed as total events represented by overarching 'people,' they are marked by fragments and fractures. Focusing on gender and place, this book challenges such an all-embracing image by uncovering the plurality of voices, interests, actions, and expectations that constitute the totality we call 'revolution.' As such it is a valuable contribution to the study of the Arab revolutions beyond the states, regimes, and formal institutions." — Asef Bayat, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Frances S. Hasso is Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology at Duke University and the author of Resistance, Repression, and Gender Politics in Occupied Palestine and Jordan and Consuming Desires: Family Crisis and the State in the Middle East.

Zakia Salime is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and the author of Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction / Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime  1

1. Politics in the Digital Boudoir: Sentimentality and the Transformation of Civil Debate in Egyptian Women's Blogs / Sonali Pahwa  25

2. Gender and the Fractured Mythscapes of National Identity in Revolutionary Tunisia / Lamia Benyoussef  51

3. Making Intimate "Civilpolitics" in Southern Yemen / Susanne Dahlgren  80

4. The Sect-Sex-Police Nexus and Politics in Bahrain's Pearl Revolution / Frances S. Hasso  105

5. "The Women Are Coming": Gender, Space, and the Politics of Inauguration / Zakia Salime  138

6. Cautious Enactments: Interstitial Spaces of Gender Politics in Saudia Arabia / Susana Galán  166

7. Revolution Undressed: The Politics of Rage and Aesthetics in Aliaa Elmahdy's Body Activism / Karina Eileraas  196

8. Intimate Politics of Protest: Gendering Embodiments and Redefining Spaces in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park and the Arab Revolutions / Banu Gökariksel  221

Bibliography  259

Contributors  279

Index  283
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6241-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6221-0
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