Temporary liberties and uncertain futures: young female Muslim perceptions of life in England

Thompson, Naomi and Pihlaja, Stephen. 2018. Temporary liberties and uncertain futures: young female Muslim perceptions of life in England. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(10), pp. 1326-1343. ISSN 1367-6261 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores how young female Muslim university students in London and Birmingham experience life in England. Through focus groups and interviews, talk about three main topics was collected: how young Muslims frame their identities; how they are perceived by others; and how they perceive Muslims to be portrayed and represented in public life. Analysis shows that the participants: presented themselves as ambitious and autonomous; experienced direct and indirect exclusion as young Muslims; perceived a lack of diverse Muslims role models and ambassadors in public life; and that, despite their optimism, felt their futures in Britain were uncertain. The young people recognised the temporary liberties they have around dress and practice as university students that are potentially restricted in wider society. The research highlights the problems created by stigmatising public discourse around Islamist extremism that fuels narrow, deficit-focused policy that exacerbates the exclusion of young Muslims.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Muslim; young women; exclusion; extremism; identity; policy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Centre for Community Engagement Research


16 April 2018Accepted
2 May 2018Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2018 11:55

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2020 13:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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