Boundary Battles: Muslim Women and Community Identity in the Aftermath of Violence


Robinson, Rowena. 2010. “Boundary Battles: Muslim Women and Community Identity in the Aftermath of Violence.” Women’s Studies International Forum 33 (4): 365–73. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2010.02.010.

Author: Rowena Robinson


In ethnic conflicts in South Asia, women's bodies become sites for contestations of honour. Fundamentalist movements to ‘purify’ a community typically try to control women's movements, behaviour, dress and deportment. Muslim women in India have suffered increasing pressures in the escalating ethnic violence of recent decades.

The increasing divide between communities and consequent ghettoization of Muslims has profound effects on women's everyday lives. Ghettoization protects and confines: as women attempt to escape from targeting by the Hindus, they come under surveillance of the men of their own community. Their struggles for reform and gender equality are viewed with increasing displeasure by Muslim men and religious leaders. Women are seen as betraying the community in its hour of distress by raising such issues. Thus, women get further confined by community boundaries even if there are some who seek to dissolve them by focusing on issues of gender, class or citizenship rights.

Topics: Gender, Women, Post-Conflict, Religion, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Pakistan

Year: 2010

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