This work is a study of the discrepancy between the law and practice of inheritance. Since inheritance problems are confronted by both sexes, examples will involve men and women but with the main focus on the latter. Economic dependence on men results in powerlessness and passivity on the part of women. Men utilize cultural capital in their attempt to justify their unjust disinheritance of their female kin. This is used to mystify and justify to themselves their material possession of the shares of women. Whether they accept this situation or not, women are socialized into perceiving men in a certain framework reproduced through generations. Feminists have written about Muslim women in the Middle East in their attempts to reiterate the compatibility between Islam and feminism. There is a vast difference between the formal and informal practices of inheritance. The latter is influenced by social power that is used to determine the outcome of the inheritance process.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Nicholas Hopkins

Committee Member 1

Nicholas Hopkins

Committee Member 2

Rabab Abdulhadi

Committee Member 3

Helen Rizzo

Document Type



93 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Inheritance and succession

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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Call Number

Thesis 2002/2



Included in

Anthropology Commons