Being Young and Muslim
New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North
Editors: Linda Herrera and Asef Bayat
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of interest in youth issues and Muslim youth in particular. Young Muslims have been thrust into the global spotlight in relation to questions about security and extremism, work and migration, and rights and citizenship. This book interrogates the cultures and politics of Muslim youth in the global South and North to understand their trajectories, conditions, and choices. Drawing on wide-ranging research from Indonesia to Iran and Germany to the U.S., it shows that while the majority of young Muslims share many common social, political, and economic challenges, they exhibit remarkably diverse responses to them. Far from being “exceptional,” young Muslims often have as much in common with their non-Muslim global generational counterparts as they share among themselves. As they migrate, forge networks, innovate in the arts, master the tools of new media, and assert themselves in the public sphere, Muslim youth have emerged as important cultural and political actors on a world stage. The essays in this volume look at the strategies Muslim youths deploy to realize their interests and aspirations.
The volume explores the ways in which the young, both in Muslim majority societies and Muslim communities in the West, negotiate their Muslim identity in relation to their youthful desires – their individuality, the search for autonomy and security for the future. Due to a combination of the shifting moral politics at home, the relentless process of cultural and economic globalization, the rise of a civilizational discourse in which “Islam” is positioned in opposition to the “West,” sluggish economies and wide scale unemployment, youth cultures and politics are developing in novel yet little understood ways. Their interests, aspirations, and socioeconomic capacities appear to be producing a new cultural politics: the cultural behavior of Muslim youths, the authors say, must be understood as located in the political realm and representing a new arena of contestation for power. While often referred to as the “builders of the future” by the power elite, the young are also stigmatized and feared as disruptive agents who are prone to radicalism and deviation. The essays in this volume look at the strategies Muslim youths deploy to realize their interests and aspirations, including music and fashion, party politics, collective violence, gang activities, religious radicalism and other forms of expression.
Linda Herrera, Senior Lecturer in International Development Studies, is Convenor of the Children and Youth Studies M.A. specialization at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Asef Bayat , Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies, holds the chair of Society and Culture of the Middle East and Leiden University, The Netherlands. He is the author of Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn (2007) and Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (2010).
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction: Being Young and Muslim in Neoliberal Times by Asef Bayat and Linda Herrera
- Politics of Dissent
- 2. Muslim Youth and the Claim of Youthfulness by Asef Bayat
- 3. The Drama of Jihad: The Emergence of Salafi Youth in Indonesia by Noorhaidi Hasan
- 4. Moroccan Youth and Political Islam by Mounia Bennani-Chraibi
- 5. Rebels without a Cause? A Politics of Deviance in Saudi Arabia by Abdullah al-Otaibi and Pascal Menoret
- 6. The Battle of the Ages: Contests for Religious Authority in The Gambia by Marloes Janson
- 7. Cyber Resistance: Palestinian Youth and Emerging Internet Culture by Makram Khoury-Machool
- Livelihoods and Lifestyles
- 8. Young Egyptians’ Quest for Jobs and Justice by Linda Herrera
- 9. Reaching a Larger World: Muslim Youth and Expanding Circuitries of Operation by AbdouMaliq Simone
- 10.Being Young, Muslim and American in Brooklyn by Moustafa Bayoumi
- Strivings for Citizenship
- 11. ‘Also the School Is a Temple’: Republicanism, Imagined Transnational Spaces, and the Schooling Of Muslim Youth in France by Andre Elias Mazawi
- 12. Avoiding Youthfulness? Young Muslims Negotiating Gender and Citizenship in France and Germany by Schirin Amir-Moazami
- 13. Struggles over Defining the Moral City: Islam and Urban Public Life in Iran by Azam Khatam
- Navigating Identities
- 14. Securing Futures: Youth, Generation, and Muslim Identities in Niger by Adeline Masquelier
- 15. “Rasta” Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali by Benjamin F. Soares
- 16. Performance, Politics and Visceral Transformation: Post-Islamist Youth in Turkey by Ayse Saktanber
- 17. Negotiating with Modernity: Young Women and Sexuality in Iran by Fatemeh Sadeghi
- Musical Politics
- 18. Fundamental’s Jihad Rap by Ted Swedenburg
- 19. Maroc-Hop: Music and Youth Identities in the Netherlands by Miriam Gazzah
- 20. Heavy Metal in the Middle East: New Urban Spaces in a Translocal Underground by Pierre Hecker
- 21. Music VCDs and the New Generation: Negotiating Youth, Femininity and Islam in Indonesia by Suzanne Naafs
- 22. Conclusion: Knowing Muslim Youth by Linda Herrera and Asef Bayat
“This is an excellent collection of essays on youth in a number of Muslim majority (and minority) societies in the context of globalization and modernity. A particular strength of this volume is its ability to highlight the multiple and contested roles of religion and personal faith in the fashioning of contemporary youthful Muslim identities. Such insights often challenge secular Western master narratives of modernity and suggest credible reconceptualizations of what it means to be young and modern in a broad swath of the world today.”
— Asma Afsaruddin, Professor of Islamic Studies, Indiana University
Knowing the work of both editors and having read some of the early versions of different chapters, I would highly recommend this book. It engages with important questions, challenges existing definitions and interpretations without being apologetic. The variety in topics and regions provides the reader with a very rich source of contemporary debates, repertoires and interpretations of being young and Muslim.