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Accepted Paper:

Islam, Gender and Public Sphere: The Civic and Political Participation of Muslim Women in Barcelona  
Rosa Martinez-Cuadros (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation, this research focuses on the analysis of experiences and trajectories of Muslim women who are involved in civic and political participation in Barcelona.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, Muslim women have become more visible in the public sphere through their involvement in civic and political participation in secular countries. In a context of growing religious diversity, Barcelona is one of the cities in which Muslim women are appearing in public events, conferences and demonstrations, and even becoming key figures in political parties. Their participation is challenging normative ideas about the role of religion in the public sphere, while defying stereotypes about gender relations and Islam. Research on Gender and Islam has mainly been focused on issues such as the use of the hijab, forced marriages and female genital mutilation. Despite the relevance of these topics, this centrality has emphasized the vision of Muslim women as absent of the public sphere, and consequently, it has also stressed their supposed incapability of acting as active agents in social or political participation. Moreover, even from some feminist groups, Muslim women have been categorized as oppressed and victims of their religion, negating their capacity of the agency. Departing from all this and drawing from qualitative interviews and ethnographic observations, this research focuses on the analysis of experiences and trajectories of Muslim Women who are active in politics and in social activities in the city of Barcelona. The research also includes an analysis of the local structures of opportunities that configure their participation. Among other issues, I explore how Muslim women negotiate their religious identification in their claims for cultural citizenship and their responses to stigmatization.

Panel P137b
Religion, Political Participation, and Civic Engagement
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -