Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

has pdf download The uncertainties and anxieties of veiling amongst British Pakistani women in Sheffield  
Hester Clarke (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the everyday ambiguities, concerns and apparent contradictions that arise for young British-born Pakistani women in Sheffield in deciding to wear the hijab; adding to explorations of the practice of veiling which inform discussions of gendered Islamic piety in daily life.

Paper long abstract:

Deciding when and how to wear the hijab raises particular dilemmas for British-born Pakistani women. Whilst all my informants (with whom I worked between July 2012 and September 2013) state that wearing the hijab is mandatory for Muslim women, many do not wear the garment themselves. Furthermore, young women frequently remove their hijab during special occasions, or only wear it within certain spaces. Aside from temporal and spatial differences in hijab wearing, many women who veil express concern and anxiety regarding their 'true intentions' for veiling, and the potential discrepancies between their outer appearance and 'inner selves'. Finally, for a minority of women, wearing the hijab is part of 'fitting in', 'looking good' or covering 'bad' hair, and divorced from expected discourses of piety, morality and/or politics.

Building on the responses of Deeb and Schielke in the 2015 5:2 edition of HAU, I explore the complex relationships between moral schemas, notions of 'intention', and the desire to be beautiful and 'fit in', which influence the hijab-wearing practices of British Pakistanis. I argue that these practices contribute to an ongoing performance of self, which is entangled within understandings of piety, morality, and beauty which in turn, are mediated by social relationships. I demonstrate how such entanglements yield incoherent and ambiguous outcomes for women in their daily lives; thereby contributing to the ethnographically-informed discussions both on veiling amongst Muslim women in the UK (see Tarlo 2010, Tarlo and Moor 2013), and wider debates on gender and 'everyday Islam'.

Panel P094
Gendering 'everyday Islam'
  Session 1