Encountering misrecognition: Being mistaken for being muslim

Hopkins, P., Botterill, K. and Sanghera, G. (2017) Encountering misrecognition: Being mistaken for being muslim. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 107(4), pp. 934-948. (doi: 10.1080/24694452.2016.1270192)

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Exploring both debates about misrecognition and explorations of encounters, this article focuses on the experiences of ethnic and religious minority young people who are mistaken for being Muslim in Scotland. We explore experiences of encountering misrecognition, including young people's understandings of, and responses to, such encounters. Recognizing how racism and religious discrimination operate to marginalize people—and how people manage and respond to this—is crucial in the struggle for social justice. Our focus is on young people from a diversity of ethnic and religious minority groups who are growing up in urban, suburban, and rural Scotland, 382 of whom participated in forty-five focus groups and 224 interviews. We found that young Sikhs, Hindus, and other south Asian young people as well as black and Caribbean young people were regularly mistaken for being Muslim. These encounters tended to take place at school, in taxis, at the airport, and in public spaces. Our analysis points to a dynamic set of interconnected issues shaping young people's experiences of misrecognition across a range of mediatized, geopoliticized, and educational spaces. Geopolitical events and their representation in the media, the homogenization of the south “Asian” community, and the lack of visibility offered to non-Muslim ethnic and religious minority groups all worked to construct our participants as “Muslims.” Young people demonstrated agency and creativity in handling and responding to these encounters, including using humor, clarifying their religious affiliation, social withdrawal, and ignoring the situation. Redressing misrecognition requires institutional change to ensure parity of participation in society.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (reference number AH/ K000594/1)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Botterill, Dr Kate
Authors: Hopkins, P., Botterill, K., and Sanghera, G.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Research Group:Human Geography Research Group
Journal Name:Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1467-8306
Published Online:28 February 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107(4):934-948
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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