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Sex and violence: social reactions to economic restructuring in Kuwait

Tetreault, M. A. (1999). International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1(2), 237-255. doi:10.1080/146167499359907

Economic restructuring in response to globalization affects virtually every area of the world, including countries that appear to have many economic advantages. Kuwait is a wealthy country, but its relatively favored position does not insulate it from struggles to limit the effects of redistribution on particular individuals and social groups. Women in Kuwait are feeling the pressures of restructuring. Educated and employed as the result of modernizing policies instituted during the era of rising national oil income, Kuwaiti women find themselves today, during a period of slumping oil prices, the target of those who want to take whatever desirable places they occupy in the local political economy. At the same time, restructuring conflicts have raised the level of political violence in Kuwait. These two phenomena are less likely to be directly related than caused by the same exogenous pressures. Their joint appearance in Kuwait echoes similar manifestations in other countries which have resulted in social movements against women’s rights and, in extreme cases, civil wars which use violence against women as a preferred form of political discourse.


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