Growing Up Muslim in America: Managing Multiple Cultures in Everyday Life

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Drawing on over three and half years of ethnographic research on a group of immigrant Muslim young men growing up in an American city, this dissertation examines the subtle yet important ways that cultural minorities manage participation in diverse, and sometimes divergent, cultural systems in the course of everyday life.Extensive ethnographic details illustrate three specific social processes through which my subjects - whom I call "the Legendz" after the name of their hip hop group - work to manage the tensions between the cultural systems of religious Islam and American youth culture at the level of everyday life. First, as illustrated in Chapter Two, the Legendz consume cultural products associated with secular American youth culture - particularly hip hop songs, videos, and styles - in particular ways that express a religiously pious yet secularly cool identity. This is a process of cultural reception for the management of multiple cultures. Second, as Chapter Three demonstrates, the boys apply cultural schemas drawn from religious Islamic culture - particularly the faith-based commitment to pre-marital sexual abstinence - in order to manage ambiguities in American youth culture, specifically around dating practices. This is a process of cultural importation for the management of multiple cultures. Chapter Four shows how the Legendz - along with their religious leaders, parents, and Muslim peers - engage in repeated in-group rehearsals at the mosque to learn the "appropriate" presentation of Islamic cultural identity and practices when in public. This is a process of backstage preparation for the management of multiple cultures. Together these …
Original languageEnglish (US)
TypeDissertation
PublisherUCLA
Number of pages189
StatePublished - 2012

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