Micro-level management of Islamophobia

Negotiation, deflection and resistance

Authored by: Fatima Khan , Gabe Mythen

The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815353751
eBook ISBN: 9781351135559
Adobe ISBN:


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Drawing on an empirical study conducted in the northwest of England, this chapter elucidates the multiple ways in which British Muslim identities are negotiated and managed in environments in which their beliefs, values and aspirations are routinely questioned. We examine how micro level strategies of interactional negotiation allow participants to benefit from hybridity, circumvent potentially risky interactions and resist stereotyping and misperceptions. We focus on four salient processes, which emerged in data analysis. First, we identify practices of cherry picking, through which individuals select particular facets of Islamic and Western identities. Second, we explore examples of chameleonism, an impression management strategy permitting individuals to adapt according to context. Third, we illuminate the process of ambassadorship, through which Islamophobia is challenged using reasoned argument and a tolerant attitude. Fourth, we discuss acts of conflict which emerge in situations deemed beyond the capability of strategies of chameleonism or ambassadorship.

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