Sharia on Domestic Workers: Legal Pluralism and Strategic Maneuvering in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates

Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, Vol. 12, Issue 2, p. 166, 2010

Amsterdam Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-16

General Subserie Research Paper No. 2011-01

19 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011 Last revised: 7 Sep 2011

See all articles by Antoinette Vlieger

Antoinette Vlieger

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 20, 2011

Abstract

Sharia barely influences conflicts between domestic workers and their employers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Analyzed from the perspective of legal pluralism, Sharia constitutes a reservoir of normative tools that can be used by either party in a conflict. The outcome does not depend on Islam, but on power relations. As such, the position of domestic workers resembles the position of women in general; it is both under attack and defended through the use of Islamic discourse. Sharia can offer protection by categorizing domestic workers as workers who have the right to proper treatment and respect, or they can be oppressed by categorizing them as slaves or individuals of lower status. The result depends on who has the power to choose the applicable norm, or the power to decide if Sharia will by implemented at all.

Keywords: Sharia, Conflicts, domestic workers, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, legal pluralism, strategic maneuvering

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Vlieger, Antoinette, Sharia on Domestic Workers: Legal Pluralism and Strategic Maneuvering in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (July 20, 2011). Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, Vol. 12, Issue 2, p. 166, 2010, Amsterdam Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-16, General Subserie Research Paper No. 2011-01 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1890686

Antoinette Vlieger (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/a.r.vlieger

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