The dialogic fashioning of women's dress in the Sultanate of Oman

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Roche, T, Roche, E & A, Al-Saidi 2014, 'The dialogic fashioning of women's dress in the Sultanate of Oman', Journal of Arabian Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 38-51.

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This paper provides a brief introduction to women's dress practices in the Sultanate of Oman. We explore women's clothing practices as dialogues with religious and regional communities. Our introduction provides concrete examples of how dress practices from neighbouring communities, such as coastal Iran, neighbouring India, and the East African island of Zanzibar, have been appropriated and reformulated to express regional Omani identities. We discuss veiling practices in order to show how these practices reflect regional and generational identities which Western observers often misunderstand as signifying oppression, but are in fact rich in many-layered meaning for local women (e.g. marital status and tribal affiliation). The data for this study were obtained through semi-structured interviews with local women, which were conducted by a research team that included student-translators who belonged to the villages and Bedouin camps visited for the purpose of this study in 2010 and 2011.

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