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UAL Research Online

Who Is Allowed to be Private in Public Space? Veils, Masking and the Rule Violations of Muslim Women in Finland

Almila, Anna-Mari and Inglis, David (2014) Who Is Allowed to be Private in Public Space? Veils, Masking and the Rule Violations of Muslim Women in Finland. In: Power, Culture and Economy. European Sociological Association's Sociology of Culture conference, 25-27 August 2014, University of Tampere, Finland.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Almila, Anna-Mari and Inglis, David

Social scientists have studied how Islamic face-veiling has in recent years been often violently debated across Europe. However relations between power, the gaze, social spaces and veiling practices remain largely unexplored. Here we consider how dress and veiling cultures and socio-spatial power structures affect each other. First, we analyse historically how in Europe power and social class have been articulated through claims to privacy in public spaces, by means of devices like veils, curtains and darkened glass on forms of transportation. Second, using ethnographic research, we analyse the spatial dynamics of Muslim women’s face-veiling practices in Finnish social spaces, and hostile societal reactions to these. Deploying Lefebvre’s understandings of space, dress-styles are shown to be profoundly connected to the spatial/material characteristics of cities. Therefore dominant styles follow logics inherent to those spaces. Dress-styles which follow different spatial logics to the hegemonic norm are in conflict with surrounding space and seem 'foreign' and 'unsuitable' to those following local socio-spatial codes. Face-veiling individuals, many of whom occupy lower social positions, violate the class-based rules of who is allowed to enjoy privacy in public, and who does not. We reflect on the ramifications of this point for future studies of Islam in Europe.

Official Website: http://www.uta.fi/yky/en/power2014/index.html
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Niqab, face-veil, production of space, Lefebvre
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 26 August 2014
Event Location: University of Tampere, Finland
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2014 15:44
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2014 15:44
Item ID: 7444
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/7444

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