Journal Article

Patriarchy as the exclusive domain of the other: The veil controversy, false projection and cultural racism

Susanna Mancini

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 10, issue 2, pages 411-428
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icon/mor061
Patriarchy as the exclusive domain of the other: The veil controversy, false projection and cultural racism

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This article critically analyzes the (mis)use of feminist language and rhetoric in measures restricting the right to wear traditional female Muslim clothing in various European jurisdictions. It posits that this mobilization of female symbols is, in the first place, part of a strategy of exclusion and of cultural homogenization which aims at anchoring European identity in secularized Christianity, while at the same time reinforcing the systemic nature of gender oppression. The use feminist language in the struggle against the veil moreover, can be interpreted according to the pattern of false projection. In the Dialectic of Enlightenment Adorno and Horkheimer describe false projection as the phenomenon which enables majority cultures to project on minorities some features of their own which they seek to hide from themselves. In this light, Muslim women come to embody the projected visions of Islam as “the” patriarchal Other, which is a particularly useful device for purpose of hiding an unresolved conflict within Western civilization.

Journal Article.  9336 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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