Everyday Violence, Quotidian Grief: Patriarchal Bargains in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Dossier 32-33: Sexualities, Culture and Society in Muslim Contexts, ed. Anissa Hélie (London: Women Living Under Muslim Laws), 123-135.
14 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2015 Last revised: 15 Dec 2015
Date Written: February 23, 2015
Bridal kidnapping has increased throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This proliferation is linked in part to increased economic hardship and the resurgence of conservative identity politics. This essay focuses on bridal kidnapping in the Pankisi Gorge, a region of Georgia inhabited by a Chechen-speaking Muslim community, the Kists. I explore issues of consent and agency in a social milieu that manages sexual desire through marriage contract. Drawing on Deniz Kandiyoti's concept of the 'patriarchal bargain,' I trace how Kist women assert agency from within restrictive patriarchal contexts. At the same time, and in keeping with Kandiyoti, I examine how women participate in the consolidation of patriarchal values. Ultimately, I show that women give consensual assent to everyday violence against women in contexts where their culture and values are perceived as under threat from external forces.
Keywords: patriarchy, gender, sexuality, bridal kidnapping, patriarchal bargains, Georgia, Pankisi, Chechens
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