Neil Macmaster
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The 'Mouvement de solidarité féminine'
Army wives and domesticating the ‘native’

There has been much research on the process of 'domesticating the empire', the methods by which French and other imperial regimes attempted to intervene in, regulate or remake indigenous family life in its own image. This chapter aims to investigate the overt and implicit meanings of the model of family life, companionate marriage and gender roles that underpinned the emancipation campaign. It was French policy in Africa, Indochina and elsewhere to encourage wives of the military and colonial service to volunteer for welfare work with native women. The wives of senior army officers and certain types of female army personnel (mainly nurses) played the key role in forming the Mouvement de solidarité féminine (MSF). The chapter presents three case-studies of three circles, Héliopolis, Rio-Salado and Palissy, to illustrate the inner workings of the local MSF.

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Burning the veil

The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62


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