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Between conflicting cultures: the lived experience of young Muslim women’s negotiation of identity and sexuality

Loy, Rebecca (2010) Between conflicting cultures: the lived experience of young Muslim women’s negotiation of identity and sexuality. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Building upon past research this study aimed to develop knowledge of the negotiation and re-working of identity in British Somali females. It explored influencing factors on identity and used research (Minwalla 2005, Whittaker 2005, and Dwyer 2000) and philosophy (Merleau-Ponty 2009) to prove sexuality’s influence upon it. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was used to interpret the findings of six semi-structured interviews. Positioning theory was utilised to analyse the findings and draw conclusions of a discursive and narrative model of the positioning of participants. Contextual factors within asserting ones identity were found, namely gender, culture, familial/peer relationships and religion. The study demonstrated how young Somali females attempt to assert identity through conflicting positions imposed in each context. Participants were found to be in conflicted positions at three levels of analysis, which in turn conflict with each other. The core level was the positioning participants placed themselves in, between Islam and British Culture. The secondary level included the rights and duties positioned on them by the Somali community; at the third level was the positioning gave to them by the wider British context, this included the taboo issues which participants had to negotiate identity and sexuality within.

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