This paper is about young pious Somali women and their engagements with Islamic knowledge in London. Based on over 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork, it explores how young women draw on an Islamic reformist discourse of “religion vs. culture” in processes of pious self-fashioning. In so doing, they criticize the older generations for failing to “purify” religious practice from cultural norms, but also to engage with culture and religion in a critical and reasoned way. These criticisms of their parents’ generation are analyzed as strategic efforts by young Somalis to separate themselves from, and challenge, mainstream debates around Islam, diversity, and the demise of multiculturalism in Britain.
Liberatore, G. (forthcoming 2016) ‘For my mum it comes with culture’: Intergenerational dynamics and young Somali women’s interventions within multicultural debates in Britain. Special Issue – Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies.