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Title: Living in Two Worlds : An Investigation into the Identity of Arab Muslim Women in Contemporary Great Britain
Author: Al-Saud, Deema Turki Abdul Aziz
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2009
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This interdisciplinary dissertation draws upon Islamic, socio-cultural and legal studies to present an original investigation of an under-researched minority group, namely Arab Muslim women living in Great Britain. It investigates the construction of a social identity which is challenged by opportunities for integration into a secular society, and contrasting obligations posed by fumity traditions and the Shariah. The empirical section of this dissertation is based on 32 semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with Arab Muslim women resident in the UK in 2005-2006. The interviews sought to understand participants' perceptions of their ethno-religious heritage in the light of their experience of living in urban, multi-cultural Great Britain where they are required to obey two systems of law - English Family Law and the Shariah. Interview data were supplemented by email questionnaires returned by five legal experts. These lawyers expressed a range of opinions on the issue of legal pluralism in Great Britain and the degree to which Muslim religious and cultural practices are accommodated in the UK. While views included in the interview data are not statistically representative, they arguably reflect a range of prevailing opinion among the wider population of Arab Muslim women in Great Britain. The findings emphasise that participants were able to express valuable insights by reflecting on how they perceive themselves and on how they feel they are perceived by others: This research concludes by noting that Arab Muslim women's identity, perhaps as a result of its transitional context, is considerably more fluid than media stereotypes would suggest, and that their attitudes towards Shariah injunctions governing their personal status convey an ambivalent mixture of piety and pragmatism. It is anticipated that these conclusions can stimulate others to embark on future research projects in this dynamic field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available