Dissonant belongings: The evolving spatial identities of young Muslim men in the UK

Arshad Isakjee

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    16 Citations (Scopus)
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    Since 2001 a number of controversial and sometimes violent events in the UK and elsewhere have raised anxieties around British Muslim male identities. The problematisation of those identities now framed around the supposed conflict between Britishness and Muslim-ness. Yet these discourses of the belonging of young Muslim identities often underplay or fail to consider the increasing importance of local, British spaces in ethnically diverse towns and cities, shaping and creating new dynamics of identification.
    This study draws upon extensive ethnographic research and mobile interviews to provide a comprehensive study of these evolving spatial identities of British young Muslim men. It uses Birmingham as a case-study area, a city in which more than a fifth of the population describe themselves as holding to a Muslim faith. The study contrasts how the everyday experiences which underpin Muslim identity stand in stark contrast to less tangible notions of Britishness. The paper concludes by positing that young Muslim male identities are characterised by a dissonance, between the emotional place-belongingness that evokes for them a sense of inclusion, and the politics of belonging that marks out their exclusion.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironment and Planning A
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016


    • place-attachment
    • Muslim
    • identity
    • Belonging
    • spatiality


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