"Real freedom": A discursive negotiation between Muslim migrants and the public Danish discourse
Johannes Renders (Aarhus University)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper, I first map the Muslim migrants' discourse on freedom in Denmark, drawing from ethnographic data and a media content analysis. Secondly, I illustrate the ways in which, mediated by Muslim institutions, they contest and transform the hegemonic Danish public discourse on freedom.
Paper long abstract:
During the 2017 local elections in Denmark, the upcoming party Nye Borgerlige campaigned with a poster depicting a woman in niqab with the heading: "Freedom, also for Muslim women". Since the Muhammad cartoons crisis, and even more so after some recent scandals, the Muslim minority has been consistently resisting, challenging, and negotiating the meaning and uses of the term 'freedom' in the Danish public discourse. Its shallow use in politics and media, posits one of Denmark's most prominent imams, must be deepened by a spiritual understanding of "real freedom". In this paper, I first map the Muslim discourse on freedom in Denmark, drawing from my own ethnographic data (interviews and participant observation) and material collected from a wide range of sources (from sermons to social media). Secondly, with this material, I illustrate the specific ways the Muslim discourse on freedom is used and reproduced, and in which Danish Muslim slowly contest and work towards the transformation of the hegemonic Danish discourse on freedom. The data will also show the crucial role Muslim institutions play in mediating the negotiation of values between the host population and migrant minorities.
Religion on the move: comparative ethnographic accounts of migration and urban religiosity