Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space

Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space

by John R. Bowen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691138397

ISBN-13: 9780691138398

Pub. Date: 08/04/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The French government's 2004 decision to ban Islamic headscarves and other religious signs from public schools puzzled many observers, both because it seemed to infringe needlessly on religious freedom, and because it was hailed by many in France as an answer to a surprisingly wide range of social ills, from violence against females in poor suburbs to anti-Semitism

…  See more details below

Overview

The French government's 2004 decision to ban Islamic headscarves and other religious signs from public schools puzzled many observers, both because it seemed to infringe needlessly on religious freedom, and because it was hailed by many in France as an answer to a surprisingly wide range of social ills, from violence against females in poor suburbs to anti-Semitism. Why the French Don't Like Headscarves explains why headscarves on schoolgirls caused such a furor, and why the furor yielded this law. Making sense of the dramatic debate from his perspective as an American anthropologist in France at the time, John Bowen writes about everyday life and public events while also presenting interviews with officials and intellectuals, and analyzing French television programs and other media.

Bowen argues that the focus on headscarves came from a century-old sensitivity to the public presence of religion in schools, feared links between public expressions of Islamic identity and radical Islam, and a media-driven frenzy that built support for a headscarf ban during 2003-2004. Although the defense of laïcité (secularity) was cited as the law's major justification, politicians, intellectuals, and the media linked the scarves to more concrete social anxieties--about "communalism," political Islam, and violence toward women.

Written in engaging, jargon-free prose, Why the French Don't Like Headscarves is the first comprehensive and objective analysis of this subject, in any language, and it speaks to tensions between assimilation and diversity that extend well beyond France's borders.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691138398
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/04/2008
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
320,823
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1
Part 1 State and Religion in the Long Run 9
CHAPTER TWO: Remembering Laïcité 11
CHAPTER THREE: Regulating Islam 34
Part 2 Publicity and Politics, 1989-2005 63
CHAPTER FOUR: Scarves and Schools 65
CHAPTER FIVE: Moving toward a Law 98
CHAPTER SIX: Repercussions 128
Part 3 Philosophy, Media, Anxiety 153
CHAPTER SEVEN: Communalism 155
CHAPTER EIGHT: Islamism 182
CHAPTER NINE: Sexism 208
CHAPTER TEN: Conclusions 242
Notes 251
Glossary 273
References 275
Index 283

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >