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Lecture | LUCIS What's New series

Tensions and Ambiguities in Muslim Family Law: the Case of Egypt

Thursday 12 December 2019
Free to visit, drinks after
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

In this lecture, Monika Lindbekk examines how Egyptian judges, mediators, and arbitrators articulate notions of family, marriage and gender in cases of judicial divorce during the period 2008-2015. The lecture highlights two functions played by judges and other legal professionals. First of all, it is argued that Egyptian family court judges and other legal professionals enjoy considerable discretionary power in interpreting and implementing the personal status codes.

Lindbekk will first address the techniques used by judges, court experts, and religious scholars when attempting to orchestrate reconciliations and the underlying values and beliefs that guide the techniques. Second, she argues that legal professionals sometimes use the court and other legal spaces as a platform to critique Egyptian society and articulate alternative discourses on family, marriage and gender. Such tensions especially come to the fore in the way legal actors make use of religious and social concepts embedded in an idealized past with a view to ensuring the “authentic” character of the Muslim family. The lecture situates these contradictory practices against a background of contestation of early 21st century reforms that challenged male authority in the family.

About Monika Lindbekk

Monika Lindbekk (PhD Oslo University) has an academic background in Sociology of Law and History of Religions. She works as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Lund. Her research focuses on adjudication of Muslim and Orthodox Copt marriage and divorce law by Egyptian courts before and after the 2011 revolution. Prior to joining Lund University, she was a Post-Doctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute and a lecturer at Oslo University and the British University in Egypt.  

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