Women, religion and politics


Women, religion and politics by Zilka Spahić-Šilajak is a nuanced and profound reading which stresses ‘mono-functionality’ of male and female believers’ languages, which obviously cannot be reconciled with ‘multi-functionality’ of the language of male and female citizens. The book investigates the phenomenon of marginalized political participation of women that is visible in the public sphere in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially through the notions of co-existence of patriarchal and socialist value-models, re-traditionalization and impacts of religious traditions on attitudes about women’s engagement in the public sphere.

The position of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina is like that of the traditional religions, the more traditional the religion is, the less it participates in the society, whereas the more traditional the woman is, the less she participates in society. The book represents the study of a complex interplay between religion and gender, on the one hand, and religion and culture on the other, relevant not just to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the research was conducted, but for the whole region and beyond. The wider theoretical implications of the work are in that it shows that the shared patriarchal cultural matrix is often hidden by religious differences among the three Abrahamic faiths, but it is ultimately   revealed in the similarity of lives of women in the region. The uniqueness of this book is in its specific synoptic approach depicting all three monotheistic religions and their attitudes towards women. The author is indicating exactly how much patriarchate undermined the exceptionality of three monotheistic religions and has been as such presented as their inherent exclusiveness.

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