УДК 391.2



Women’s Head Covering Practices in Tunisia in the XX — XXI Centuries

Abroskina E. V.



Introduction. This article examines the daily and ritual practices of using the traditional veil (safseri), hijab and niqab on the territory of the eastern coast of Tunisia since the middle of the XX century to the present day.

Materials and methods. The author used materials collected on the territory of the eastern coast of Tunisia (Monastir, Sousse, Mahdia), Kairouan and Tunis in 2015 — 2019. Those field materials were used as the main source in the work on the article. The emotional agency of material objects is a poorly developed topic in anthropology, therefore the work is based on theories created on the basis of historical research and applied to texts. In particular, the historian B. Rosenwein's theory of emotional communities is used to analyze the materials.

Results of the study and discussion. Dwelling in detail on the history of the emergence of covering items in women's practices in the 1950s — 1980s, the author examines the emotional reaction of Tunisian society to the use of each of these items; the formation of communities whose members shared similar feelings among themselves (love, hatred, respect, fear, etc.) depending on the chosen subject of head covering (safseri, hijab and niqab).

Conclusion. The study demonstrates the possibility of a thing to become an object of emotional irritation and the cornerstone of discussions about whether it has the right to exist and everyday use; participation of the state in regulating the possibility of using a particular subject.

Keywords: Tunisia, head covering practices, veil, hijab, niqab, ethnography

For citation: Abroskina EV. Women’s Head Covering Practices in Tunisia in the XX — XXI Centuries. Bulletin of the Research Institute of the Humanities by the Government of the Republic of Mordovia. 2023;15(2):166—177. EDN LMSCPW




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The article was submitted 01.02.2023; approved after reviewing 06.03.2023; accepted for publication 10.03.2023


Information about the author:

Evgeniia V. Abroskina, Junior Researcher of the Department of the East, State Hermitage Museum (2 Palace Square, Saint Petersburg 190000, Russia), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2960-5658, evgeniia.abroskina @gmail.com


Conflict of interests: the author declares no conflict of interests.


The author has read and approved the final manuscript.