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Accepted Paper:

“Piety as a meaningful resource: exploring the entrepreneurship – the religious activism nexus among Muslim women in Kyrgyzstan”   
Manja Stephan (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin)

Abstract:

Drawing on the biographies of Kyrgyz women working in the education sector and the fashion industry, my paper explores how pathways to entrepreneurship are linked to women's religious becoming. As the biographies show, piety serves as a meaningful resource of a Muslim professionalism, that supports, and is supported by, women's aspirations for personal fulfilment in combination with their desire to contribute to social welfare and development. Women's entrepreneurship can be seen as an open-ended process of flexibly negotiating personal aspirations related to professional activity, pious self-making and a good work-life balance with being a woman in a patriarchal environment. Creatively combining public education, affective labour and digital formats with neoliberal market logics, Kyrgyz women are engaging in a Muslim professionalism that blurs the boundaries between entrepreneurship, business and religious activism, while defining success beyond material needs in terms of mental health, happiness and harmony, and beauty.

Panel T22ANT
Conceptualising Entrepreneurship: Ethnicity, Gender, Piety and other Sociocultural Aspects of Commercial Environments across Central Asia
  Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -