POLITICS, RELIGION AND GENDER. GOVERNING MUSLIM BODY COVERING IN EUROPE
Apstrakt: Although the so-called "headscarf-issue" has been a topic of public discussions in European countries since the mid 1980s, the debates about Muslim body covering like the hijab, the burqa or the niqab have intensified since 2004 so that up to now, most European countries have actually regulated the wearing of Muslim body covering in the public sphere. The headscarf has become an arena of passionate controversies about politics of integration and religious and cultural differences. Most interestingly, these struggles are deeply connected to gender differences. It is the body of Muslim women that became a battlefield of conflicts over values and identity politics within these debates. Moreover, the controversies over the Muslim headscarf are part of identity politics of the majority society that is marking Muslim communities as the "other" by questioning the presence of Islamic symbols in the public sphere. In this paper we are interested in exploring the social and political meaning negotiated in the policy debates over veiling in selected European countries. We will argue that headscarf debates and policies negotiated a new concept of citizenship by legitimizing new requirements and preconditions for full citizenship rights. To lay out our argument we will point out the central elements of the citizenship narrations in the headscarf debates by drawing on the results of a gender-sensitive frame-analysis of policy documents that are written documents of the actors involved in headscarf debates from 1989 to 2007 in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. These are countries that were analyzed in the research project VEIL "Values, Equality and Differences in Liberal Democracies. Debates about Muslim headscarves in Europe", funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission (please see http://www.veil-project.eu). We thus show that the headscarf debates re-draw the boundaries between public and private in contemporary western liberal democracies by relegating covered Muslim women to a newly constructed private sphere and institutionalizes specific body-characteristics as preconditions for belonging at the intersection of religion and gender.
Ključne reči: Headscarf-Debate, politics of belonging, intersectionality, frame-analysis, body politics, differentiated citizenship