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Empowering Muslim girls? Postfeminism, multiculturalism and the production of the 'model' Muslim female student in British schools

Mirza, HS; Meetoo, V; (2018) Empowering Muslim girls? Postfeminism, multiculturalism and the production of the 'model' Muslim female student in British schools. British Journal of Sociology of Education , 39 (2) pp. 227-241. 10.1080/01425692.2017.1406336. Green open access

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Abstract

This article draws on an analysis of the narratives of teachers, policy-makers and young Muslim working-class women to explore how schools worked towards producing the model neoliberal middle-class female student. In two urban case-study schools, teaching staff encouraged the girls to actively challenge their culture through discourses grounded in western post-feminist ideals of female ‘empowerment’. The production of the compliant ‘model Muslim female student’ appeared to be a response to the heroic western need to ‘save’ the young women from backward cultural and religious practices. While this approach had many positive and liberating effects for the young women, it ironically produced forms of post-feminist ‘gender friendly’ self-regulation. The article concludes with a black feminist intersectional analysis of race, religion, gender, sexuality and class in the context of British multiculturalism and rising Islamophobia, exploring the contradictions of gendered social justice discourses that do not fully embrace ‘difference’ in educational spaces.

Type: Article
Title: Empowering Muslim girls? Postfeminism, multiculturalism and the production of the 'model' Muslim female student in British schools
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2017.1406336
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2017.1406336
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Muslim girls, intersectionality, post-feminism, female empowerment, multicultural schools, Islamophobia
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055386
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