Mother Love

A Forced Divorce in Damascus

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World J.A.Carlisle@staff.Newman.ac.uk
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The impact of kin during personal status cases is not anticipated by Syrian statute, although the influence of litigants' families in disputes is frequently acknowledged by the court. Although usually supportive of claims, kin can undermine the legal process by opposing litigants' strategies through threats to withdraw economic and social support or by asserting their authority to intervene on the litigant's behalf. Through observation and analysis of a recent arbitration session related to a request for a judicial divorce in Damascus I describe how the court is powerless to oppose the intervention of the wife's angry mother, although the final resolution appears to have been formulated within the parameters set by the legislation.

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