Izzat and forced marriage in the constructing of cultural and religious identities in the UK

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    This chapter presents findings from 15 semi-structured interviews with women from a variety of heritages and family origins in South Asia and Africa. All of the women interviewed were either born in the UK or moved here while children, and completed all or a part of their education in the British school system. We discuss religious and cultural aspects of their lives in the UK, including how issues including forced and arranged marriages and other HCPs emerge, with a particular focus on the context of cultural and religious identity and the expectations that come with them. Whilst many of the women situated forced marriage within these cultural and religious expectations, it was clear from the data that there was a blurring of cultural and religious lines. Within the analysis of these interviews, it became apparent that notions of izzat, lojja, and sharam, which are sometimes defined as ‘honour’ and/or ‘shame’, were central to how expectations were shaped and reified. As well as presenting the data, we theorise these concepts and unpack the relationship between them and forced marriage. We consider the ways in which these concepts engender particular types of power, which, in turn, emerge through the ways women’s bodies and rights are controlled. Finally, the discussion addresses the consequences this can have for women, including being ‘exiled’ if they do not conform to the gendered and patriarchal expectations of the marriage template endorsed by these concepts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReligion and Gender-Based Violence
    Subtitle of host publicationGlobal and Local Responses to Harmful Practices
    EditorsBrenda Bartelink, Chia Longman, Tamsin Bradley
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9781003246046
    ISBN (Print)9781032158709
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Religion and Development

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