Feminist poststructuralism: discourse, subjectivity, the body, and power

The case of the burkini

Authored by: Chris Weedon , Amal Hallak

The Routledge Handbook of Language, Gender, and Sexuality

Print publication date:  April  2021
Online publication date:  April  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138200265
eBook ISBN: 9781315514857
Adobe ISBN:


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This essay looks at feminist poststructuralist methods of approaching gender, language, and sexuality. It briefly outlines the principles of a feminist poststructuralist approach to language and how it is relevant and useful in the study of gender and sexuality. Focusing on the discursive, embodied production of gender and sexuality and on gender as performance, it examines the example of the competing and contrasting ideas and materialities of freedom, the body, gender, and sexuality produced within Western feminisms and Islamic feminism. It takes the highly contested issues of the hijab, hijab fashion, the niqab, and the burkini to exemplify a feminist poststructuralist approach. The chapter will conclude with a brief consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and a guide to further reading.

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