Neil Macmaster
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From women’s radical nationalism to the restoration of patriarchy (1959–62)

The final stages of the Algerian War from 1959 until 1962 saw the most overt and radical phase of women's nationalist activism and evident signs of the failure of the emancipation agenda to make any significant or durable impact on Muslim women. However, the underlying strength and continuity of conservative Islamic religion and culture shaped the post-war political order. The massive disruption and challenge to patriarchy caused by war-time conditions determined males, at independence, to reassert their domination over women and youth with a vengeance. The scale of mobile socio-medical teams and other emancipation operations was thin, under-funded and fragile and they scratched the surface of the enormous weight of social and economic problems faced by a poor and traumatised population. Contrary to popular belief, the penetration of radical Islamist currents into the Front de libération nationale regime happened in some areas of policy-making from 1957 to 1958.

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Burning the veil

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


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