Stories of Our Sister Selves: How Educated Yemeni Women Experience the Storylines Available to Them

  • Tanya Halldórsdóttir

Student thesis: Phd


This study explores the ways in which two educated Yemeni women understand and engage with storylines in their society which position them as 'sisters of men' obliged to conform to expectations of 'good' wives, mothers, daughters and Muslims. My own long immersion in Yemeni society, and de se experience of being discursively, interactively and structurally positioned as a woman and a wife in that context created a compelling desire to explore the ascribed social identities, roles and relationships of women in Yemen. In keeping with the feminist underpinnings of this study, I used a holistic method of investigation, the life history interview, and a voice relational mode of analysis that facilitated engagement with the women and their multiple subjectivities and positionings. Findings suggest that far from understanding themselves as de facto victims of their men and their religion, these strong and outspoken characters actively and willingly embrace those storylines derived from Islam but live them in sometimes unexpected ways. I also collaborated with my storytellers in the construction of personal narratives to enable readers to understand a little more about the world that these women inhabit, and help transform "information into shared experience" (Denzin 2009: 216). This study makes conceptual, methodological, practical and political contributions and suggests areas for further research.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Fay (Supervisor) & Julian Edge (Supervisor)


  • Women
  • Yemen
  • Life history
  • Non-unitary subjectivity
  • Islam
  • Feminism
  • Voice relational data analysis

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