The Challenges of Globalization for Muslim Women

Zayn Kassam

in The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theology

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199273881
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Challenges of Globalization for Muslim Women

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Globalization has brought with it many benefits “from above” with respect to opening up employment and trade opportunities on a massive scale, and has facilitated, in some cases, a generation of wealth that has trickled down to ordinary citizens, thereby enabling greater freedom of choice with respect to raising the standard of living. However, by and large, such small gains have come at a tremendous cost to those who do not constitute the elite, especially in developing countries (often termed countries at the periphery). At the same time, globalization has facilitated, “from below,” nativist resistance movements, often couched and presented in religious terms, which turn to identity politics and greater control over women's morality, comportment, and role in society, ostensibly to address broader social inequities, but which concomitantly exercise a restrictive effect on the attainment of gender justice. This chapter presents a brief discussion of Muslim hermeneutics on gender in order to understand how nativist resistance movements have been able to draw upon women's comportment and dress as symbols for the authenticity and integrity of the Islamic tradition in an attempt to withstand what they perceive as Western hegemonic practices. It then discusses Muslim feminist hermeneutics, economic privation and gender violence, and capitalist practices and women's bodies.

Keywords: globalization; Muslim women; feminist hermeneutics; economic privation; gender violence; capitalism; poverty; gender; nativist resistance movements

Article.  7837 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion

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