This paper presents ethnographic documentations of Israeli Palestinian "women without men," who seek out married men and use the notion of polygyny to make moral sense of their non-normative heterosexual relationships. The women's presentations of self are construed against popular attitudes to polygyny as practically negligible and morally anachronistic. Following a political-economic approach to gender as constructed, historical, and embedded in multiple structures of power, the cases are interpreted as providing a lens into the structural contradictions that inform the lives of Palestinians inside Israel. It is argued that the women's uses of an explicitly traditional and patriarchal script of gender morality to legitimize lifestyles that are easily stigmatized as immoral have a quality of social poetics. These day-to-day subversions of norms expose the strategic nature of "big" power structures of state, nation, religion, and community.
- Gender morality
- Israeli Palestinians
- Social poetics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)