Muslim Youth, Veiling and Diverse Forms of Belonging

October 31, 2019

Islamic veiling involves not only a highly politicised set of phenomena today, it also constitutes an extremely lucrative globalized fashion market. Young women’s and girls’ bodies are the domains of multiple struggles – religious, political, economic, cultural – that are at the same time global, local, national and transnational in character. This special issue explores these struggles, particularly regarding issues to do with feelings, senses, modes, types and experiences of belonging among young Muslim females, as these are bound up with veils and veiling practices.

Belonging may be more ‘local’ in terms of community membership or more national in terms of self-identifications and citizenship affiliations. It also may be more transnational, particularly in and through diasporic social conditions. And it may also be more global, in terms of senses of belonging to a global religious community. At the same time, belonging can be denied and restricted, such as in terms of access to citizenship rights, or involve rejection, racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia on the behalf of powerful collectivities and religious and ethnic majority groups.

In all these matters, veiling can work to create, facilitate, hinder and challenge forms of belonging. Different kinds of veils can operate in diverse ways in terms of modes of belonging and rejection – the face-veil is one particularly striking example of this. Meanwhile, ‘fashionable’ styles of veiling can create diverse sorts of responses by different audiences. Consumer practices regarding the buying and wearing of fashionable veils may function as a ‘normalising’ factor in some ethnic and religious contexts, rendering veiling part of the familiar routines of everyday life. Yet fashionable veiling styles may easily come to be variously criticised, exoticised and Orientalised by multiple sorts of actors.

This special issue explores all these various complexities of veils and veiling among young Muslim women. It deals with the interface of veiling, belonging, fashion and politics. It brings together different theoretical and methodological viewpoints, drawn from a wide range of scholarly traditions. Papers may report on veiling matters amongst Muslim youth in any part of the world, whether in Muslim majority or minority and diasporic contexts, and both in the present day and in the past. Contributions are sought from diverse disciplinary and inter-disciplinary backgrounds across the social sciences and humanities. Papers which report novel empirical findings, and innovate in theoretical and methodological terms, are particularly encouraged. 

Article submission deadline: 31st October 2019

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