‘A second skin’: embodied intersectionality, transnationalism and narratives of identity and belonging among Muslim women in Britain

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Women's Studies International Forum


Heidi Safia Mirza

Publication date


The paper examines the narratives of three professional transnational Muslim women of Turkish, Pakistani and Indian heritage living and working in Britain. Developing a post colonial black feminist framework of embodied intersectionality, the analysis explores ways in which the regulatory discursive power to ‘name’ the ‘Muslim woman’ in the ‘West’ as either dangerous or oppressed is lived out on and within the body. Embodied practices such as choosing to wear the hijab, which one woman described as a ‘second skin’, allows an insight into the ways in which the women draw on their subjecthood and inner sense of self to negotiate the affective ‘postcolonial disjunctures’ of racism and Islamophobia which framed their everyday lives. Embodied intersectionality as a feminist critical theory of race and racism shows how gendered and raced representation is powerfully written on and experienced within the body, and how Muslim women's agency challenges and transforms hegemonic discourses of race, gender and religion in transnational diasporic spaces.

Volume and page numbers

36 (Jan.-Feb.), 5-15


License restrictions may limit access - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2012.10.012




Psychology, Religion, Ethnic Groups, Sociology and Race Relations



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