Gretel Ana Martin Araya

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The purpose of this study is to analyse the roles of Saharawi refugee women in their struggle for national liberation and the way that we can understand their claims to agency. The ethnographic approach of this research assumes that the concept of agency, as discussed here, inherently carry the values, struggles and realities of the interviewees and those of the researcher. Therefore, Saharawi women’s roles and their expressions of agency need to be understood and interpreted within their contextual realities as refugees and as an Arab-Muslim society. Consequently, this research draws on a feminist perspective and follows the methodological approach of ethnography. This method allows bringing to the forefront of the research the voices and everyday life of Saharawi women. By doing so, the meanings attached to these women's choices and practices can be understood; and thus, their agency grasped. Thus, locally grounding the research helps to challenge Western normative feminist assumptions of what can account as expressions of the agency of women.

The findings of this paper are based on a five-week long field study during which participatory and non-participatory observations were made and eighteen in-depth interviews were conducted with twelve women and six men who hold active roles in the Saharawi community.
The paper argues that Saharawi women’s expressions of agency are motivated primarily by the struggle for national liberation and then by women’s emancipation. This has been instrumentalised by increasing political participation and activism and by challenging normative views of women’s ascribed roles.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato5 maj 2019
Antal sider108
VejledereJacob Rasmussen


  • agency
  • Arab-Muslim women
  • post-colonial feminism
  • grounded theory
  • Saharawis
  • refugees