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Title: Lowering the Gaze, shaping desires : a perspective on Islamic masculinity in Germany
Author(s): Kurz, Miriam
Issue Date: 2017
Type: Book chapter
Language: English
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:3:5-1981185920-1135647
Subjects: Islam
Abstract: This paper examines a set of mosque lectures delivered by a German imam, outlining an ideal of Islamic masculinity which is based on the exercise of “practices of the self” (Foucault) working on a mental, bodily, and emotional level. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s understanding of morality, Aristotle’s conception of ethics and habitus formation, and Monique Scheer’s work on emotional practices, the article shows how this imam envisions his audience to achieve long-term changes in their emotional dispositions and thus to strengthen their faith and compliance with Islamic gender-specific norms of conduct. The article uses the lowering of the gaze as a central bodily technique and analyses it in its function for the overall project of ethical self-formation. I argue that the imam in question considers emotions as objects of conscious and reflexive teaching and training. Extending the existing scholarship on Islamic piety, the paper pays particular attention to the gendered nature of self-formation. It inquires into the relational dimension of masculinities within social power structures, while engaging with Raewyn Connell’s concept of “hegemonic masculinity.”
Open Access: Open access publication
License: In CopyrightIn Copyright
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