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Introduction: pluralising Muslim youth identities: intersections of nation, religion and gender

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 07:10 authored by Mairead DunneMairead Dunne, Barbara CrossouardBarbara Crossouard
The introductory paper to this special edition provides an overview of the multi-country research project on Muslim youth identities upon which all the papers draw. It includes outlines of its methodological and theoretical frameworks and its rationale. Using a case study approach, the research explored the identity narratives of Muslim youth in the four socio-political contexts of Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria and Lebanon, each of which have distinctive post-colonial histories. In each context we explored how youth performed and constructed their identities with reference to intersecting discourses of nation, religion and gender. The data was collected with the support of local researchers through female and male focus group discussions which sought to privilege youth voices. Our analysis drew upon feminist, poststructural and postcolonial theorists (e.g. Butler, Foucault, Hall, Said), who understand identities to be constituted through difference. Taking up this theoretical stance, we highlight the axes of difference that were integral to youth identity formations, discussing these with reference to internal and external ‘others’. By attending to youth voices and their shifting discourses of allegiance and difference, the research provides a counter to the stigmatisation and misrepresentation of Muslim youth within much Western media. Our analyses emphasise the ways that youth identities are constructed within their particular socio-historical, postcolonial contexts and the contingencies of their local social relations, while also acknowledging the interpenetration of the global and the local. The introductory paper concludes with an overview of six articles which provide cross-case analyses that address key themes emerging from our data.


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