On the Hijab-Gift : Gift-Theoretical Considerations on the Ambiguities and Ambivalences of Islamic Veiling in a Diasporic Context

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/291886

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Almila , A-M & Inglis , D 2018 , ' On the Hijab-Gift : Gift-Theoretical Considerations on the Ambiguities and Ambivalences of Islamic Veiling in a Diasporic Context ' , Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change , vol. 3 , no. 1 . https://doi.org/10.20897/jcasc/2672

Title: On the Hijab-Gift : Gift-Theoretical Considerations on the Ambiguities and Ambivalences of Islamic Veiling in a Diasporic Context
Author: Almila, Anna-Mari; Inglis, David
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Sociology
Date: 2018-07-20
Language: eng
Number of pages: 17
Belongs to series: Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change
ISSN: 2589-1316
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/291886
Abstract: One of the most politicised topics across the social sciences today concerns Islamic veils (hijabs) and veiling. Scholarship has not yet sought to illuminate specific veiling phenomena in light of gift theory, begun by Marcel Mauss in the 1920s. We focus on how particular Islamic women - in this case, in diasporic Muslim communities in Finland - give hijabs to each other as gifts. We use gift theory to understand the significance of such acts, unpicking the subtle power dynamics at work. We seek to throw new light on both micro-level, individual-to-individual aspects of hijab-gifts, and on the more macro-level factors bound up with these acts of gifting. A hijab-gift is potentially deeply ambiguous, as well as powerful, because of the multiple layers of significance at work within it, encompassing factors including religious precepts, family and community norms, and commoditised sartorial fashion objects. Social relations involving such gifts can be deeply ambivalent. Female gift donors are seen to be able to shape the thoughts and actions of recipient women in various ways, in terms of: how and why they wear the hijab; which types of hijab, and which kinds of religious observance, they adopt; and the ways in which they understand their own motivations in the hijab’s adoption. By bringing hijab and gift issues into dialogue with each other, we highlight the complex and subtle ways in which gifts can operate today.
Subject: 5141 Sociology
Veiling
Hijab
Gift
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