Understanding Islamization and veiling in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan
This study explores the motivations and rationale of the educated Kyrgyz women who start wearing hijabs upon reaching maturity. In addition, the study examines attitudes, views, and perspectives of different groups of the Kyrgyz population in Bishkek, the capital of the country. In doing so, it presents, analyzes and explores the Islamization process in Kyrgyzstan from different angles. The theoretical framework for the study uses social identity and rational choice theories. The empowerment and dis-empowerment concepts are chosen in order to explore the consequences veiling has for Kyrgyz women. The findings of this study suggest that the interviewed women in hijabs, who are regarded as primary data informants, have different motives in veiling themselves. The findings also suggest that veiling can be both empowering and dis-empowering for women. The related tensions and insecurities cause contradictions in lives, rights and status of Kyrgyz women in hijabs. Furthermore, the analysis of the data presented by religious male insiders, experts in gender and religious issues and journalism, and government representatives, as well as students who are regarded as secondary data informants demonstrate how complex, multifaceted and diverse the Islamization process is in Kyrgyzstan. Reflections of the secondary data interviewees also show a potential conflict dimension as a result of the Islamization process occurring in Kyrgyzstan. Whereas, students who also participated in the study demonstrate positive attitudes and support towards women in hijabs and Islamization trends in Kyrgyzstan.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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