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Disputation: Monika Lindbekk

Monika Lindbekk at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law will be defending the thesis Inscribing Islamic shari‘a in Egyptian marriage and divorce law: continuity and rupture for the degree of Ph.D.

Monika Linbekk

Photo: UiO

Trial lecture - time and place

August 29th at 10:15 a.m in Gamle festsal, 1st floor, Urbygningen

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Anne Hellum, University of Oslo (leader)
  • Professor Shaheen Sardar Ali, University of Warwick (1. opponent)
  • Professor Knut S. Vikør, University of Bergen (2. opponent)

Chair of defence

Vice dean Erling Hjelmeng


  • Professor Kristian Andenæs
  • Professor Bjørn Olav Utvik


This article-based Ph.D. dissertation is founded on fieldwork conducted in Cairo. The dissertation explores how conceptions of marriage and gender hierarchy are institutionally (re)produced and contested in light of developments in the law and public debates and situates this in a context of nation-state formation. Given that Egyptian marriage and divorce law is strongly influenced by shari‘a, Lindbekk also investigate how religion has been interwoven into a modern legal system. A focal question in this regard is how judges without a background in classical Islamic jurisprudence apply modern family law codes derived from shari‘a.

Lindbekk argues that the most important developments during the period under study (2008-2013) are the following: First, the implementation of personal status law was characterized by standardization. In enforcing legislation, the courts normalized the nuclear family and strong conjugal ties. Secondly, the use of Islamic sources by judges in court rulings was significant. In the process of re-inscribing shari‘a in state law, family court judges construe its meaning in a way which differs from classical Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Yet, while the contemporary codes and their implementation by family courts represent a break away from the argumentation of traditional Muslim jurisprudence, continuities are still evident.

Another important theme is that of civil society activism in the context of the 2011 uprising. While there was a degree of political contestation prior to the 2011 uprising, the 25 January Egyptian revolution resulted in an unprecedented degree of civil society activism. During the period between the resignation of former President Mubarak in February 2011 and the ousting of his successor Muhammad Mursi in July 2013 - Muslim family law was a contentious issue. The calls targeted law reforms promulgated under the Mubarak regime and they sought to limit male authority in the family. The most contested of these laws were the ones pertaining to women’s unilateral right to divorce, child custody, and visitation rights. Judicial practice and public debates are read in conjunction with changes in the political landscape where new and old actors and institutions claimed authority to interpret Islamic shari‘a in post-revolution Egypt.



Published Aug. 15, 2016 2:25 PM - Last modified Dec. 10, 2019 5:01 PM