Framing discourses of possibility and constraint in the empowerment of Muslim girls: issues of religion, race, ethnicity and culture
This paper presents the stories of three female Muslim educators actively engaged in empowering Muslim girls in their school/community liaison roles. The stories are drawn from a broader qualitative and predominantly interview-based research project that investigated issues of teaching and social justice in three English schools. Through lenses that recognise the dynamic, complex and contradictory narratives that shape Muslim girls' identities, the paper draws attention to the women's discursive positionings and, in particular, how such positionings generate 'framing discourses' that both shut down and open up possibilities to support Muslim girls. The first story illustrates how the discursive position of 'Ashley', a white, Western woman who has recently converted to Islam, generates 'incomplete framing discourses' that homogenise the girls' culture and thus ignore or delegitimise significant issues of race and ethnicity in the girls' lives. The second story provides an account of 'Abida' and 'Sati's discursive positioning as women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage. Their alternative framing discourses bring to light and give status to the range and complexity of the discourses that shape the girls' identities. In juxtaposing these stories, the paper highlights the importance of educators being conscious of and critically examining their own discursive positioning in their construction and support of Muslim girls; and draws attention to the continued imperative of disrupting the epistemic privilege of Western-informed views of female empowerment and of listening to feminist voices from the margins.
Race, Ethnicity and Education
Ethnic Education (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Maori and Pacific Peoples)