Infertility in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Women's Narratives
Date: 3 August 2020
University of Exeter
Middle East Politics
This thesis traces the experiences and analyses the narratives of infertile Palestinian women living in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Women in the oPt face psychological, economical, social and political difficulties, which, when coupled with infertility, create an ambiguous state. As previous research in gender studies ...
This thesis traces the experiences and analyses the narratives of infertile Palestinian women living in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Women in the oPt face psychological, economical, social and political difficulties, which, when coupled with infertility, create an ambiguous state. As previous research in gender studies suggests, the physiological state of infertile women undoubtedly does not conform to societal norms. As such, researching infertile women in Palestine is an imperative aspect of providing a neoteric approach to areas of enquiry around the influence of settler colonialism on the female self. In an attempt to unravel the struggle between settler colonial policies and women in an infertile state, I examine the interconnected nature of the macro-level political and socioeconomic contexts, as well as the micro-level contexts of household framings, individual meanings and everyday challenges in the lives of infertile Palestinian women. This study adopts a gendered approach for researching Palestine as a setter colonial case study enabling me to analyse, in a gender-focused framework, the narratives on infertility as told by the women themselves and as treated by their society. My case study is the area of Bethlehem where I conducted my field work for a period of seven months. The findings of this thesis indicate that motherhood within the confines of marriage is critical to womanhood, legitimacy and relevance in the oPt. As infertile Palestinian women, the inability to achieve the status of motherhood creates economical, social and interpersonal losses. Infertility was also found to be particularly challenging for the affected women, and was considered an important health problem in the wider community as they experienced a range of moral and biological experiences due to their infertile state. Furthermore, the absence of children arguably de-stabilises marriages and social relations, as problems result directly from infertility. Coupled with these findings, this research locates Zionist settler colonialism as a main determinant in women’s reproductive inabilities.
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