They Only Listen When We Bash Our Culture

  • Leah Bassel


This chapter explores debates over gender, culture and religion, for example headscarves and the use of religious arbitration (so-called ‘sharia tribunals’) in France, England and Canada. Minority women, most visibly Muslim women, are often only audible when speaking as ‘victims’ or ‘entrepreneurs’. Norms of audibility shaped by a binary division of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mean minority women are selectively audible: when conforming to racist stereotypes of victimised Muslim women or, under austerity in third sector spaces, when speaking as social entrepreneurs, a neoliberal language which comes at a cost. It is a struggle to connect listening to politics and be heard on one’s own terms, to engage with others as equal, interdependent peers, when speaking both to the state and horizontally to ‘fellow citizens’.


Minority women Laïcité Veiling ‘Shari’a tribunals’ Religious arbitration Secularism Anti-racism Austerity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah Bassel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUnited Kingdom

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