Conceptualising Complex Identities of British Muslim Women

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Hengameh ASHRAF EMAMI, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
In this controversial era of Trump in the USA, and Brexit in the United Kingdom, Muslims and immigrants and their identities have come to the forefront of public debates. Highlighting and understanding immigrant identities is essential. To date, there has been little research focus on exploring the intergenerational identities of Muslim women in the West. This paper offers multi-sited ethnographic research that explores the complexity of identities across the generations and cultures of British Muslim women in the UK cities of Newcastle-upon -Tyne and Glasgow. To achieve the aims of this study, forty in-depth oral history interviews were conducted, alongside the participant observations of the researcher, in a variety of settings and situations. The methodology of the research provided a profound insight into the complex and sometimes contradictory notion of identity, through the intersection of the gender, ethnicity and religion of the research participants. The paper will discuss the multiple challenges and opportunities experienced by the research participants in the secular space of the UK. Theories of double consciousness and black feminist thought, in conjunction with intersectionality, were utilised in order to demonstrate and explore the multiple identities of the research participants at the micro and macro level. The study investigates not only family and community issues and tensions, but also includes the research participants’ interaction with the wider society, and the impact of this interaction on the construction of their identities. Thus, the study intends to empower the research participants, through the provision of a platform for their voices to be shared with the wider society.