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Doing belonging: The Case of Young Women of Middle East Backgrounds in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2009 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to explore lived experiences among young women of Middle East backgrounds living in Sweden. The focus is on practices of doing belonging with regards to ethnic, gender and religious identifications. Based on qualitative interviews, the paper provides a social psychological analysis of the main themes in the empirical material. These include for instance the negotiations of self-identity and sharing a common minority identity that transcends religious differences. An overarching theme concerns female respectability and sexuality, e.g. how to act according to context dependent norms without jeopardizing one’s respectability. Also, the analysis shows that there is an intimate connection between ‘immigrant family values’ and ‘an authentic religiosity’ which is juxtaposed with the idea of a ‘Swedish weak religiosity’. In the interviewees’ stories, a feeling of ambivalence towards individualism and collectivism as separate values-systems emerges. Value-oriented conflicts in everyday-life are handled by developing strategies which enable the implementation of individualistic values on freedom to choose one’s own path in life without losing respectability in front of the collective in-group. As a consequence, new and dynamic value-systems are formulated. The analysis illustrates a fluctuating process of identity construction from a minority perspective that is constantly changing its meaning and boundaries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
doing belonging, social identity, ethnicity, gender, religion, values
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121499OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121499DiVA: diva2:305493
Welfare and Values in Europe – Transitions related to Religion, Minorities and Gender, International Research Conference, Uppsala universitet, Sweden, March 26-28 2009
Available from: 2010-03-24 Created: 2010-03-24 Last updated: 2010-12-27Bibliographically approved

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Haghverdian, Serine
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