USP Electronic Research Repository

Alternative Forms of Resistance: Afghan Women Negotiating for Change

Amin, Sara N. and Alizada, Nazifa (2020) Alternative Forms of Resistance: Afghan Women Negotiating for Change. Journal of International Women's Studies, 21 (6). pp. 361-378. ISSN 1539-8706

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (375kB)


In this paper we examine how Afghan women resist, strategize and negotiate family and societal constraints to take advantage of the expanding education and employment opportunities in the post-Taliban era. We focus on how these women exercise agency and what resources they mobilize to maximize their opportunities in the face of potential constraints. We argue that to understand women’s agency and changing gendered power relations in the family, it is crucial to examine every day individual behaviors that deviate from prescribed dominant gender behavior and infuse altered meanings to dominant gendering discourses. Our research highlights that gendered power is partial, interrupted by situated emotions and relationships. Afghan women employ a range of resistance methods to overcome constraints placed in their way, and we discuss them through three thematic frameworks of resistance in acts of submission, sacrifice and situated agreement, resistance in acts of open defiance, and resistance in acts of negotiation. The analyses is based on in-depth interviews with 64 women from 40 households in Kabul, and illustrate the significance of the family as a site in which gendered power and subordination are disrupted, fragmented, negotiated, and interdependent, challenging assumptions of the family as a site of monolithic oppressive power against women.

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: women, resistance, Afghanistan
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Sara Amin
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2020 04:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2020 04:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...