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ERIC Number: ED525573
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 423
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-9880-5
Education & Agency: Muslim Women and the Tensions of Traditional & Modern Expectations
Khan, Shabnam Syed
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
This hermeneutically crafted qualitative study examines how six university-educated middle-class Pakistani Muslim women negotiate the competing expectations of traditional Muslim culture and the emancipated ethos of the university. It uses Robert Kegan's constructive-developmental theory, whose Subject-Object scoring system distinguishes a person's predominant epistemology on a scale of five orders of consciousness, and concludes that for these women's sense of being it is important that they meet the two competing cultural claims made on them: (1) They must be a paragon of Muslim womanhood when called upon to respond to the Muslim ideal of female modesty, ethical morality, domestic competence, and social submissiveness because they are "educated." (2) Aspiring toward and attaining the highest academic and professional degrees, they must participate in intellectually and personally rewarding activities with openness expected of a global citizen--because they are "educated." The study shows that these women mediate these two opposing cultural regimens according to their third and fourth orders of consciousness. For women constructing reality at the third order there appears to be a mismatch between their internal order of consciousness and the one that would be required to master the conflicting claims of college and home that bring tensions in their lives. However, the fourth-order women are able to take control of these tensions without implicating their inner psychological wellbeing, demonstrating that 'self-authorship' is not exclusively a Western but a way of being that can take its own distinct form in Muslim culture. This culturally distinct way of being helps them better to handle the challenges. In concluding educational implications of this study, it is outlined how Robert Kegan's theory, attentive to consciousness-expansion education, can support useful introspection on two aspects of the larger issues surrounding higher education for Muslim women: women's personal enhancement, and the current global drive to educate Muslim women for global peace, and to bridge the divide between Muslims and the West. The study is useful for international agencies and educators working in Muslim settings, because it gives hope that painful choices between personal, cultural, and international allegiances and responsibilities can be managed through informed educational practices. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pakistan