Muslima between Projective Desire, Victim Role, and Headscarf: A Current Stereotype Analysed (working title)
A critical glance at the local media shows that the current discussion on the situation of migrants from Muslim cultures lacks constructiveness. Rather than offering broad and differentiated reports about Islam and Muslims, media coverage in Germany is mostly dominated by a narrow focus on negative aspects and issues associated with conflict. These limitations hinder the formation of an informed public opinion and foster hegemonic readings of the national debate on immigration. The mass media may hence play a pernicious role in conveying attitudes and behavioural intentions towards ethnic minorities which may create and reinforce inequality. This particularly affects Muslim women, who are assigned a doubly disadvantaged social status: being both female and member of a religious and cultural minority. This can delay, impede, or even block the search for an adequate democratic dialogue.
The research focus of this PhD project is an analysis of the phenomenology and specific manifestations of stereotypes of Muslim women as possible expressions of Islamophobic attitudes which may result in gender-specific discrimination and exclusion. The project investigates stereotypes of Muslima in two methodological steps: (I.) via an analysis of the broadsheet newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and (II.) via a multi-level analysis of inequalities by means of “Intersectionality”. This consecutive analysis is used to investigate the complexity and entanglement of powerful hegemonic structures of inequality (like race, class, gender and body) that materialise on the level of structure, symbolic representations and identity.
A reconstruction of current anti-Muslim and gender-specific mechanisms of group focused enmity within a set of stereotypes directed towards Muslima represents an example of “extremism of the centre” (S. M. Lipset). It directs attention explicitly to more subtle forms of anti-Muslim attitudes against Muslim women in order to expose ideologies of inequality.
supervisor: Professor Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence
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