Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Citizenship: Gulf and Yemen
(1,094 words)

Citizenship in the Arab Gulf States and Yemen is constructed on a kin-tribal basis. Within this patrilineal, patriarchal social structure, state rulers – the male heads of tribes – grant citizenship to members of society on the basis of family and tribal lineage. This differs from the universally dominant discourse of citizenship and contractual civil rights practiced in liberal democracies (Joseph 2000). Understanding this difference eases the mapping of a gendered citizenship in Gulf countries, where women are assumed to be under the guardianship of male members in society.

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Sabban, Rima, “Citizenship: Gulf and Yemen”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 02 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0068c>
First published online: 2009

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