Muhamesheen activism: enacting citizenship during Yemen's transition

Connie Carøe Christiansen, Sabria Al-Thawr

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Political divides often take center stage in studies of Yemen, but the social fabric of Yemeni society is also highly heterogeneous, governed by norms that sharply define boundaries between different social strata. The Muhamesheen, or the marginalized are assumed to have an African origin, and constitute a class of untouchables who in a moralizing discourse on the Mohamesheen prevalent in Yemeni society, claims their inability to practice or possess moral virtues. Along with other groups active during the uprising of 2011, the Mohamesheen demanded equal citizen and an equal state, demands that were accompanied by a new solidarity that recognized the diversity of identities among Yemenis. This possibility for new overarching solidarities was soon closed again during the subsequent transition phase outlined in an agreement known as the GCC agreement, lasting from March 2012 to February 2014. It was supposed to lead towards a ‘new Yemen’, but failed utterly to do so. During the transitional phase, however, in conventional political activism and in subversive acts in public arenas, citizenship was enacted by Muhamesheen activists who did not accommodate a Muhamesheen women’s agenda; neither did Yemeni women’s organizations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)115-138
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Conflict
  • Identity
  • Rights
  • Discrimination
  • Gender

Cite this