Abstract

This article discusses the debate on gender-equal inheritance in Tunisia. In it, Maeve Cooke’s conception of authoritarian versus non-authoritarian practical reasoning is applied to see whether binaries, like religious versus secular, are existent in the public debate on equal inheritance in Tunisia. The mapping of the debate shows the existence of three sets of arguments: jurisprudential/textual, sociological, and legal. Proponents of equal inheritance base their arguments primarily on legal, then sociological, then textual grounds, whereas law opponents base their arguments on textual, then legal, then sociological grounds. The weakness of the sociological arguments of law opponents is evident when stating that a gendered division of labor within the family still exists without providing statistics or empirical evidence to back up that claim. Through shared categories and grounds, the discussions in Tunisia share a common language in the public sphere, allowing for the reduction of authoritarian tendencies and longstanding polarization through public deliberation.

In: Journal of Islamic Ethics