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Finding a Place to Sit

How Qatari Women Combine Cultural and Kinship Capital in the Home Majlis

Rehenuma Asmi


As Qatari women attend and graduate from institutions of higher education and many enter the work force, their mobility and visibility increasingly juxtaposes their roles in the family and tribe with their new roles as partners in the creation of a nation. I utilise ethnographic data from fieldwork in two Qatari home majâles (sitting rooms) to understand how Qatari women negotiate their new roles in society. Qatari women have increasing forms of cultural capital in one arena but also have recourse to kinship capital, where gender segregation and family name protect women’s social status. I argue that Qatari women combine the different forms of capital available to them in order to ‘find a place to sit’ in the new Qatari nation.