Imagined Masculinities

Male Identity and Culture in the Modern Middle East

Edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

Writings on gender in the Middle East have tended to focus on the status of women. Issues of male identity, in a region which has seen enormous social change over the past thirty years, have been somewhat neglected.  Imagined Masculinities redresses this balance by examining masculinity as a social construct as diverse in its forms as femininity.

Initiation rites, ritualised violence and impotence anxiety are explored, as well as images of virility and male sexuality in popular culture and politics. There are moving firsthand accounts here too – a son’s recollection of his relationship with his father; a meditation on what it means to have a moustache; and a vivid recollection of visiting women’s Turkish baths as a young boy.

About the Editor(s)

Mai Ghoussoub, artist, author and playwright, left Beirut for London in 1979, where she co-founded Saqi Books. Her art has been exhibited internationally, and her play Texterminators was performed in London, Liverpool and Beirut in 2006. Her publications include Artists and Vitrines, with Shaheen Merali. Her stories have appeared in Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women and Lebanon, Lebanon. She was a regular contributor to al-Hayat and openDemocracy.

Emma Sinclair-Webb teaches in the School of Humanities and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University. Her doctoral research is on sectarianism and urban conflict in Turkey.


Imagined Masculinities takes the reader into new territory ... A rich and stimulating collection.’ Suzannah Tarbush, al-Hayat

‘Interesting and valuable ... Ghoussoub and Sinclair-Webb should be congratulated.’ Issa Boullata, al-Jadid Magazine

'It is a welcome change to find a volume devoted to aspects of being and becoming a man.'
Denys Johnson-Davies, Al-Ahram