Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Disentangling Religious, Ethnic and Gendered Contents in Boundary Work: How Young Adults Create the Figure of ‘The Oppressed Muslim Woman’

Dahinden, Janine ; Duemmler, Kerstin ; Moret, Joëlle

In: Journal of Intercultural Studies, 2014, vol. 35, no. 4, p. 329-348

The binary opposition between ‘equal European women’ and ‘oppressed Muslim women’ has become a powerful representation in Switzerland and throughout Europe. Yet little is empirically known about the mechanisms through which actors in their everyday lives (re)produce this prominent construction. In this mixed-method study with young adults in a French-speaking Swiss Canton, we explore how... Mehr

Zum persönliche Liste hinzufügen
    Summary
    The binary opposition between ‘equal European women’ and ‘oppressed Muslim women’ has become a powerful representation in Switzerland and throughout Europe. Yet little is empirically known about the mechanisms through which actors in their everyday lives (re)produce this prominent construction. In this mixed-method study with young adults in a French-speaking Swiss Canton, we explore how and on behalf of which markers they construct such a bright boundary against ‘the oppressed Muslim woman’. We argue that the Swiss tradition of ethicising and culturalising migrant issues is relevant for the construction of the boundary against Muslims in a way that renders ethnicity salient. However, when it comes to the concrete markers of the boundary – the ‘cultural stuff’ mobilised by the young people to mark the boundary – the local highly secular context has the paradoxical effect that religious contents become more salient than ethnicity. Normative ideas about ‘gender equality’, in contrast, cross both ethnic and religious markers in the same way. We argue that although ethnicity, religion and gender have commonalities in terms of categories of identification and exclusion, they should be treated as different elements when it comes to the social organisation of difference because each of them displays a specific logic.