Islam does not change: young people narrating negotiations of religion and identity

Ryan, Louise (2014) Islam does not change: young people narrating negotiations of religion and identity. Journal of Youth Studies, 17 (4) . pp. 446-460. ISSN 1367-6261 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13676261.2013.834315)


There is growing interest in how diasporic Islam may be embraced by young people as a way of carving out space and identity in migratory contexts. Islamic identity may facilitate a critical stance in relation to both the ‘host’ society and also to parental authority and ‘traditional’ ethnic practices. However, there have been recent critiques of the tendency to oversimplify and exaggerate the extent of homogeneity in diasporic Islamic beliefs. This paper draws on lively focus group narratives of young people in London to explore the interactive presentation of Islamic selves. While on the surface these young people present themselves through ‘true’, ‘universal’ Islamic identity, on closer reading subtleties of difference and contingency become more apparent. By bringing together young people who practise Islam in different ways, this paper offers a deeper insight into how claims to a universal identity are actively constructed and contested through particular social relationships and interactions in specific structural contexts. In so doing, the paper takes up recent calls for more research on the personal meaning of religion for Muslim youngsters. I conclude by considering how religious identities can be understood as processes of youth identity formations.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
Item ID: 14559
Depositing User: Louise Ryan
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2015 13:05
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2019 13:03

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