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This book provides an account of Muslim women’s political and civic engagement in Britain and France. It examines their interaction with civil society and state institutions to provide an understanding of their development as political actors. The authors argue that Muslim women’s participation is expressed at the intersections of the groups and society to which they belong. In Britain and France, their political attitudes and behaviour are influenced by their national/ethnic origins, religion and specific features of British and French societies. Thus three main spheres of action are identified: the ethnic group, religious group and majority society. Unequal, gendered power relations characterise the interconnection(s) between these spheres of action. Muslim women are positioned within these complex relations and find obstacles and/or facilitators governing their capacity to act politically. The authors suggest that Muslim women’s interest in politics, knowledge of it and participation in both institutional and informal politics is higher than expected. This book will appeal to students and scholars of politics, sociology, gender studies and social anthropology, and will also be of use to policy makers and practitioners in the field of gender and ethno-religious/ethno-cultural policy.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The introduction sets the context of this study on Muslim women through a presentation of the aims and scope of the research carried out and reference to literatures on the political participation of women, ethnic minority Muslims and Muslim women in Britain and France. It also introduces the methodology and the main themes of the proposed book through a summary of the chapters which follow.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Abstract
A number of conclusions are reached here. Most importantly, that Muslim women’s participation is influenced by their positioning in three spheres—the ethnic group, majority society, the religious group—and that inter- and intra-group contradictions, arising from unequal relations of gender, ‘race’/ethnicity and religion, mean that Muslim women must negotiate their way through them, to resist barriers and exploit facilitators of participation. Second, that Muslim women’s interest in politics and civic life, modes of participation and extent to which they participate, contrary to public perception, compare favourably with national averages. Ethnic minorities, including Muslims, are generally more implicated in formal political structures and processes in Britain than in France. Finally, that Muslim women are concerned by specific issues and their day-to-day consequences, for example, the wearing of Islamic dress in a Western context, the War on Terror and the control of women by men.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Concepts and Contexts

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Muslim Women and Politics: Analytical Framework

Abstract
This chapter considers the question of Muslim women’s involvement in politics within a framework drawing on a critical feminist standpoint which places this population centre-stage and gives voice to their thinking and actions in order to produce knowledge which will impact their lives positively; Margaret Archer’s social realist approach to agency and structure where her concept of emergence and emergent properties is instrumental in analysing Muslim women’s social and political action and Alain Touraine’s sociological intervention (SI) methodology which allows respondents to contribute to interpretation(s) of their own situation and acknowledges the subjective involvement of the researcher(s). This chapter is organised on the basis of the key reference spheres to which the women relate, identifying these three major spheres which constitute the theatre of their action as majority society, the ethnic group, the Muslim group, all of them being traversed by contradictions within and between them.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 3. Muslims and Women in Britain and France

Abstract
This chapter delineates the societal and institutional context surrounding the participation of women from Muslim communities. Two aspects influence their action in the public domain: that of Islam and Muslims and their relation with majority society women’s movements and politics. First, the evolution of policies and conceptualisation of Muslim populations in their interaction with majority societies are examined, broadly in the context of British multiculturalism and of French laïcité. Islam and ‘Muslim’ emerged as a primary identification in the 1990s, in Britain with the War on Terror; in France through controversies about women’s Islamic dress. Second, this chapter considers the relationship between Muslim women and mainstream British and French women’s movements, exploring to what extent the issues they raise are integrated within women’s movement politics and feminist demands made of the state to improve women’s lives and how this relationship influences their political and civic action.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 4. Migrations, Demographics and Socio-Economic Profiles

Abstract
This chapter examines the main post-1945 migrations from Muslim-majority countries, especially former colonies, to Britain and France as types of migratory flows (labour, family reunification or refugee) prefigure the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of communities which settle and evolve in any country. Focusing on women, it gives an account of the demographic features of Muslim populations in both countries and presents a socio-economic profile which includes their position in employment and education. It traces the emergence of ethnicity and religion as census categories in the UK which allow the gathering of demographic and social data by ethnicity and religion and contrasts this with France where collection of such data is proscribed on the grounds that attributing a particular identity to citizens (and non-citizens) runs counter to French republican universalist principles. This explains why the data is more complete in the British case.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Muslim Women, Politics and Action

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Politics and Activisms

Abstract
This chapter investigates and explains the political participation and civic engagement of Muslim women in Britain and France. It establishes a typology of participation based on primary research findings and identifies the structures and processes through which Muslim women’s action and activism takes place; for example, formal and conventional processes typified by elections and voting and institutional structures such as political parties, elected assemblies and state executives as well as various unconventional forms epitomised in street protest, political consumerism, public service and community politics and digital activism. The above categories of activity constitute the landscape of political participation and civic engagement in which two types are highlighted: voting in elections and activism through organisations, groups and campaigns in the third sector. As revealed by our research, these are among the most common types of participation among women from Muslim communities in Britain and France.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 6. Ethnic Group and Islam

Abstract
This chapter first examines the relationship between Muslim women, the ethnic group and Islam, focusing on the barriers and facilitators to their action in these two spheres. In the ethnic group, Muslim women’s role and position is governed by traditional, patriarchal norms which frequently limit their activity in the public sphere although the ethnic group can also provide protection against an often hostile majority society. Second, this chapter explores the women’s relationship and positioning vis-à-vis Islam and the Muslim group which is linked to their autonomisation. On the one hand, Islam encompasses dimensions which are absent in the ethnic group and on the other hand many of the women themselves establish a clear differentiation between the two entities, often using the former as a tool to challenge the latter.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 7. Majority Society and Women’s Capacity of Action

Abstract
Although their immediate socialisation takes place within the family and the ethnic group, Muslim women form an integral part of the majority society in which they live and most consider themselves as such. However, their relationship with majority society reveals a kaleidoscope of features, both positive and negative and in accordance with French or British specificities, which affect their action. The first section of this chapter examines obstacles and facilitating factors present in majority society and how they advance or detract from Muslim women’s autonomisation and capacity of action. The second part is dedicated to their parameters of action and the various strategies adopted by Muslim women to build autonomy for themselves and pursue their respective projects.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Chapter 8. Islamic Dress, the War on Terror, Policing Muslim Women

Abstract
This chapter considers issues of concern to Muslim women. Most important among these is the wearing of Islamic dress in a Western context. This issue was brought up repeatedly by respondents in both countries whether or not they adhered to Islamic dress codes. Hence both country contexts are included in our examination. Also raised frequently by the women and considered here are the War on Terror and the policing of Muslim women by Muslim men. The War on Terror greatly concerned respondents in Britain while the control of Muslim women by Muslim men was of immense concern to respondents in France. This chapter presents Muslim women’s views and also considers their assessment of the impact these issues have on them. It gives voice to Muslim women as a counterpoint to the opinions of those who enjoy influential public platforms, who profess knowledge of Muslim women’s experiences and thinking.
Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia

Backmatter

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