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By Walter Goldschmidt

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15 More recently, Ltaief sees new ground being broken in Tunisia by a 1999 District Court judgment invoking international law in rejecting arguments against the validity of such a marriage, although the judge in the case was careful to note that there was nothing in the particular case that ‘proves that the husband is not a Muslim’. 16 Even were this decision followed by precedents from Tunisia’s superior courts, it could still be over-ridden, ignored or, alternatively, endorsed in long-expected amendments to Tunisia’s personal status law.

10 Objections have been filed to similar reservations entered by certain Arab states becoming parties to the Convention in more recent years, such as Saudi Arabia, and the Committee continues to seek information from states on progress towards the withdrawal of reservations. 11 In their examinations of the reports submitted by state parties, the Committee may be informed by parallel reports from women’s and human rights groups in the particular state. 13 Successive United Nations world conferences on women have mobilised and facilitated regional and international networking, and impacted both state policy and public discourse, in various and sometimes conflicting ways.

35 This very broad description would take the first phase as consisting of Ottoman and Egyptian legislative interventions in the first half of the twentieth century and the second as the series of national codifications issued in the 42 AUP-ISIM-IS-BW-Welchman-22:BW 24-04-2007 19:22 Pagina 43 R E C E N T L E G I S L AT I V E D E V E L O P M E N T S 1950s in countries in the Mashreq and North Africa. The third phase is distinguished by changed global, regional and national circumstances in Arab states, including but not limited to different forms of political and civil society mobilisation, modern communications and networking capabilities, and the increased levels of interventions from powerful third-party states.

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Comparative Functionalism: An Essay in Anthropological Theory by Walter Goldschmidt


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