Muslim American youth and secular hip hop: Manifesting " cool piety" through musical practices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Informed by three and a half years of ethnographic fieldwork, this article will demonstrate how a group of Muslim American youth uses specific kinds of interactions with hip hop music to manage the cultural tension between religious piety and profane pop culture forms. I identify three musical practices (DeNora, 2000) through which youth work together to forge local solutions to the pop culture-religiosity dilemma. I also show how these actions contribute to the ongoing production of a collective identity performance that blends religious commitment with youthful secularity - a cool piety. This analysis reveals one means by which highly religious youth in America work to smooth the friction between their religious and youthful cultural obligations. More generally, my analysis establishes that specific modes of pop culture reception - and the bi-cultural identity performances and experiences they generate - can assist actors in negotiating situations of conflicting social and cultural expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-121
Number of pages23
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Cultural reception
  • Hip hop
  • Identity
  • Music
  • Muslim youth
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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