Pluralising Islam: doing Muslim identities differently

Máiréad Dunne, Naureen Durrani, Kathleen Fincham, Barbara Crossouard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper challenges the stereotypical homogenisation of Islam often circulated in global discourses. We do this by focusing on the different ways youth across four national case studies constructed their religious identities. The analysis is informed by our understanding that local, national and global discourses are significant to the interpellation of subjects and the production of identities. These on-going processes produce plurality and diversity within and across particular historical contexts. We begin by highlighting the commonalities in youth's representations of Islam. These included proclamations of values such as universal peace and harmony as intrinsic to Islam and the global Ummah. The suturing together of discourses of religion with those of national belonging led us to explore the different socio-historical conjunctures of youth’s respective postcolonial nations. This connection of the local with the national illuminated plurality as the historical and political contours in each nation produced different internal/external others against whom Muslim youth identity narratives were established and re-iterated. Finally, we turn to consider the intersections of these diverse identity narratives with global discursive flows around Islam and the responses these provoked for Muslim youth participants. In this multi-layered exploration of the complex intersections of religion with other identity narratives within four distinct historic and political contexts, we have illuminated the multiplicities and hybridities of youth's religious identities within and across the cases. Through this discussion, we challenge stereotypical tropes evident in the contemporary circulation of global discourses, which too often conflate professions of Islamic faith with religious fundamentalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345
Number of pages360
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 29 2020


  • Islam
  • hybridity
  • religion
  • youth identitie
  • global flows
  • postcoloniality


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