Negotiated Muslimness in Post-9/11 Scotland : integrations, discriminations and adaptations of a heterogeneous community of faith
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This research project, based on qualitative fieldwork undertaken in Edinburgh between 2011 and 2013, explores the ways in which Scottish Muslims have conceptualised and operationalised Muslimness in negotiation of and adaptation to the surrounding social, cultural and political environment. Using Edinburgh as a case study and 9/11 as an important historical reference point, this project analyses the transformations and developments of individual and collective Muslimness within a national and local context influenced by the global, social and political responses to the tragic terrorist attacks that took place in the USA and, subsequently, in Europe. As a whole, this thesis maintains that Muslimness in Scotland has undergone a transformation over the past decade, a transformation which is still ongoing, in which the focus on Islam has increased within both the Muslim community and broader society. At the individual level, this thesis shows that Muslim identities are dialectically shaped at the interplay between macro-structurally shaped sociopolitical understandings of Islam and micro-level, daily conceptualisations of self within the context of intergenerational changes, global and local Islamic affiliations and Scottish cultural influences. Nation, religion, ethnicity, culture and ideology intermingle to shape fluid, reactive, expressive, performed and developmental identities that are adapted to, and played out within, the local Scottish context. These same elements inform the ways in which Muslim communitarianism has been ‘done’ in Edinburgh in the wake of the post-9/11 global, national and local (often securitised) reconceptualisations of Muslimness. As a network of collective diversity based on broad religious homogeneity, relative cultural similarity and variable ethnic diversity, Edinburgh’s Muslim community has developed divergent trajectories as a consequence of intergenerational changes and varying social, political and institutional attitudes towards Islam. While airports seem to be the major loci for the socially interacted stigmatisation of Muslims, Edinburgh appears to maintain relatively modest, albeit emotionally impactful, levels of daily discrimination towards people of Islamic faith within a context of heightened negative labelling of visible Muslimness.